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Future could be brighter for 18 La Liga clubs

With Barca and Real Madrid splitting half of La Liga rights between them, law makers are working towards fairer system.

Last Modified: 18 Apr 2013 12:26
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Deportivo La Coruna are fighting for survival despite going into voluntary administration [EPA]

The dominance of Real Madrid and Barcelona could become a thing of the past as law makers move towards a more equal division of TV wealth between La Liga clubs.

A new Spanish sports law will include an obligation for soccer clubs to negotiate the sale of television rights collectively as in other major European leagues, secretary of state for sport Miguel Cardenal said on Thursday.

The legislation, expected to be presented towards the end of this year, would do away with the practice of clubs signing deals with broadcasters individually.

Under the current system, Real Madrid and Barcelona, the world's richest clubs by income, split around half of the total pot of $847.73 million for La Liga rights between them.

"It's an extremely important issue because it's the main source of funding (for the clubs)"

Sec of state for sport, Miguel Cardenal

Their domestic rivals, many of whom are in dire financial straits, are left to fight over the scraps and find it impossible to compete with the two heavyweights.

"It's an extremely important issue because it's the main source of funding (for the clubs)," Cardenal said.

"The idea is that the new law will regulate the collective sale (of TV rights) and that they will be sold in a single package," he said.

Analysts have long argued that Spain needs to adopt a system of collective bargaining and income sharing or else more of their professional clubs will follow Deportivo, Real Zaragoza and Real Betis and others into administration.

Real and Barca have come under pressure to agree a fairer distribution but analysts say the latest collective deal struck by the English Premier League, which will boost revenue by 70 percent over three years, makes it unlikely they will give up their current dominance.

Significantly, Cardenal said it would be up to the clubs themselves to decide how the money is shared out, although he said that "it would be natural to expect the gap between those who get the most and those who get the least to narrow".

Many clubs have TV deals running for the next two or three years, meaning change would not happen in the short term.

La Liga preview

The past unequal distribution of wealth has led to media attention being lavished on the two Spanish teams. Sometimes with a brutal apathy towards sides that have sat above Barca and Real in the table.  

The skills and populartiy of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi hasn't helped matters either. 

So, on that note, Barcelona and Real Madrid both play at home on Saturday in the Spanish league looking to make their final adjustments while resting some weary legs for the Champions League semifinals set to start next week against a pair of German rivals.

Barcelona host struggling Levante with Messi doubtful to play as he tries to fully recover from a right hamstring pull in time for the Catalan club's trip to Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Madrid, meanwhile, welcome Real Betis as they hone their attack led by Ronaldo for Wednesday's game at Borussia Dortmund.

With Barcelona 13 points clear of Madrid and set to reclaim the domestic title, the focus for both teams has clearly shifted to reaching the European final in London on May 25.

"Wembley brings us a lot of joy," Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez told UEFA's website.

"We have been in two finals there and won both. Having the final at Wembley makes us dream of getting there again. It will be difficult, but we want to be there with all the good feelings we've had in London and at Wembley in particular."

Away from the top two, third-placed Atletico Madrid visit a Sevilla side that has won seven straight at their Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, while fourth-place Real Sociedad take their streak of one loss in 21 games to Osasuna.

With seven rounds to go, the fight to avoid the drop is tightening up with five teams within a five-point spread and the bottom three slated to go down.

Mallorca are in second-to-last place but one point from safety before they host Rayo Vallecano on Friday.

Granada play Valladolid at home hovering just one point above the relegation zone on Saturday.

Deportivo La Coruna, who last month appeared doomed to join the second division, hope to continue their remarkable turnaround by extending their four-game winning streak against visiting Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

And finally, last-place Celta Vigo host 18th-place Real Zaragoza on Monday.

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Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
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