By Walter Broeckx and Tony Attwood
Following Tony’s articles about the problems in the EPL for Everton and in the SPL for Rangers I think maybe we should also take a look at other clubs who we are competing with in Europe.
It has been said on this website Barcelona and Real Madrid are what Celtic and Rangers are for Scotland. The two giants who win and only leave some crumbs for the other teams every 10 years or so.
The reason is that both Real Madrid and Barcelona are, just like Rangers and Celtic with their own religious and historic positions, more than just clubs. Real Madrid and Barcelona are institutions that are seen as the King’s club and the Catalan club. People whisper that the Spanish government is supportive for Real Madrid and the Catalan government does the same for Barcelona. Imagine the London council supporting one of the London clubs and doing nothing for the others… hard to imagine but that is how it seems to be in Spain.
But because of their “big” status and their support Barcelona and Real Madrid are almost seen as clubs that cannot go bust and so the banks loan them money. And more money and more money. Until it is getting a bit stupid from an economics point of view.
And then we have the TV deals. Barcelona and Real Madrid do their own TV deals and thus get a lot of money. And the other 18 clubs get what is spilt from the table and falls on the ground for those not so fortunate clubs. If the numbers in my newspaper are correct Barcelona and Real Madrid get four times the amount of money than the rest of the clubs all together.
And because of this money Barcelona and Real Madrid can pay higher wages than the rest, they can buy whoever they want to buy. And the other clubs, well they are just there to play for 3rd place and to get slaughtered every time they play Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Last week when it turned out that the radio rights also were very much beneficial for Real Madrid and Barcelona the president of Sevilla declared war against Real Madrid and Barcelona. Jose Maria del Nido invited all the other clubs in Spain in an attempt to stop the current situation.
He used some strong words to describe the situation. He said: “Our league is not just the biggest mess in Europe but in the whole world. “ He also said: “The two big ones are getting bigger and the little clubs are getting crushed and squeezed. This is becoming a third world competition, where the big two clubs take all and everything away from the others”.
Now it still is not clear how many clubs will come to the meeting, but this is the first time that a club president has openly taken an initiative to stop the big two from taking all the money.
Now just imagine what would happen if this initiative from Mr. del Nido would result in a fairer way of dividing the TV money. It probably would have as a result that the little clubs get more money and that the big two will get less money. And when you think of the fact that even with all that money now going to the big two clubs they still are in a massive debt and only stay alive because nobody dares to bring them down by asking their money back.
So the big two clubs will have lots of money to loose. And it will not kill them probably but it will force them to stop the way they have acted in the last years by buying each and every player they want for no matter what price.
It also could bring a change in European football. Because if Barcelona and Real Madrid having less money it could be another step towards maybe a more even playing field in Europe. But to get this done we still will have to deal with the rich owners and their toys, (also known as clubs).
But nevertheless it will be interesting to see if the little clubs in Spain dare to challenge the big two clubs. Oh, very much my kind of battle…the little ones taking on the big ones. I hope the little ones can win it.
And a final note about the president of Sevilla. One could say that he is just a bad loser but in fact he has been their president for nine years and he is the most successful president they have ever had. He has won two Spanish cups, one Spanish super cup, two Uefa Cups and one Uefa super cup in those years. And he has brought the club back in a good financial state over the past years. But he has had enough of playing on an uneven field. Can you blame him?
Additionally there is action elsewhere in the Spanish league to mount a challenge to the big boys. This summer Getafe became the third Spanish football club to get a load of foreign cash when it was bought by Dubai’s Royal Emirates Group.
Getafe play in Madrid, and have followed Malaga and Racing Santander, both of whom were taken over earlier. The team has already had a name change and is now Getafe CF Team Dubai. They have been in the first division in Spain for six years.
Malaga was bought by Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani of Qatar while Santander was bought by Western Gulf Advisory.
This is not to say that these foreign owned clubs are going to turn their position around in one or two seasons – not least because top players in their prime are unlikely to go to clubs with no history of winning, but over a period of a few years this could happen if the clubs do manage to climb the tables and show they are going somewhere.
And if there is a challenge from other teams it could be that a weakness will open up among the top two – especially with Barcelona which seems to be financially very vulnerable. Barca are utterly dependent upon TV finances – if less money is available because these up and coming clubs are starting to become a little more attractive, that will cause a problem for them.
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