Spanish clubs in danger over TV money
Spanish league vice-president Javier Tebas has warned that clubs could disappear in the coming months - with Deportivo La Coruna one of those in most danger - if television revenues are not kept flowing as agreed.
The difficult economic situation in Spain has led to reports that broadcasters are having trouble paying the full total of approximately €670 million a year, and this is causing knock-on problems for clubs.
Tebas told the Cadena Cope radio station that negotiations about the issue were ongoing, but stressed that clubs could not afford to take less than had been initially agreed on the current deal, due to run until 2015.
"We have met with one broadcaster and we are going to keep working so that [cutting the amount paid] does not happen," he said.
"The clubs are already in a tense economic situation. If you take away three or four million, it would get very complicated."
Deportivo, La Liga's bottom club, are over €100 million in debt and went into administration under Spain's Ley Concursal legal measure in January.
Tebas said they were an example of a club in danger of going out of business, adding: "Within some months, we will see teams from the first and second divisions which will become insolvent and end up disappearing.
"Depor is the Primera club which has the most difficult situation. As they are in administration they are allowed to negotiate their debt and find an agreement. They must find a good one, to pay over the long term, and then fulfill it."
La Primera's current 20 clubs owe about €3.5 billion between them. Tebas said a certain amount of debt was manageable for big clubs playing in the top flight, but the issue became much more serious when a team was relegated.
"A certain debt in La Primera can be maintained because you have a lot of revenue," he explained. "But if you drop to La Segunda and you stay in that division, you have trouble meeting your debt repayments. That has often ended in an administration process. They are the clubs who are most at risk."
Tebas, a sports lawyer, plays a key role in the TV rights negotiations as representative of the G30 group of clubs, which includes Real Madrid and Barcelona and most of the teams in La Segunda.
His power to change things within the Spanish game looks set to increase in April when he is likely to succeed the current league president Jose Luis Astiazaran, who was recently in the news because of allegations of doping at his former club Real Sociedad.
La Liga's 'rebel' clubs, which include Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, have long argued for a more equal distribution of TV revenues but have yet to put forward a rival candidate for the post.