Spain’s government is pushing for a new law that will centralize the way television rights are sold to Spanish soccer teams. Currently, each team negotiates television deals individually, with the net result being that Real Madrid and Barcelona make more than twice as much in TV revenues than even Atletico Madrid, this year’s third-placed team in La Liga. The measure would put the Spanish soccer league in control of the collective sale of TV rights.
The change has been proposed because many Spanish soccer teams have shoddy finances: according to Miguel Cardenal, president of Spain’s Sports Council, the country’s soccer teams have a collective debt totaling $5.2 billion, with some $874 million owed to Spanish tax authorities. Cardenal claims that centralizing the sale of TV rights would not only improve revenues for heavily indebted smaller clubs, but it would also allow the tax authorities to be the first to get paid. He added that clubs that aren’t up to date on their finances would pay a penalty worth 35 percent of their TV revenues.
Cardenal admitted that the push to balance club finances would naturally lead to more players being sold to foreign leagues and possibly to a widening of the gap between Barca and Real and the rest of La Liga. "We have become an exporting country," Cardenal said. "It's a historic change and Spanish football has to recognize it."