Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Spanish football's uneven playing field

A cut above: Lionel Messi of Barcelona
A cut above: Lionel Messi of Barcelona

By Jim Gracey

Surprise, surprise. So there won’t be an all-Spanish European Champions League final for the second year in succession. Even so, the theorists will still insist that the Spanish model is the one clubs and leagues throughout Europe must aspire to. Chance would be a fine thing.

Competitive football as we know it would be wrecked if two clubs were allowed by law to dominate domestic leagues, as Madrid and Barça do in Spain.

How come? Well imagine two Premier League clubs, say Manchester United and Liverpool, banking twice and four times as much as their rivals from television deals, with not only FA, but Government approval.

That’s what happens in Spain and it’s why that country’s Players Union are threatening strike action with support, to their credit, from El Clasico stars like Xavi, Iniesta and Sergio Ramos.

But it will all come to nada because a new deal has been done that improves the lot of the rest but protects, by law, the big two from any reduction in their £100million each from TV revenues until 2022.

It means Madrid and Barça will continue to be free to sign the best players in the world and to strengthen their strangleholds... a very uneven playing field, amazingly enshrined in Spanish law.

How does that square with Fifa’s supposed zero tolerance approach to political interference in football?

Belfast Telegraph


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