La Liga clubs are well-positioned to not only handle the financial implications of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but also to help out lower leagues in dealing with the same, said La Liga India managing director Jose Antonio Cachaza on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters in an e-press conference from Spain, Cachaza said clubs will suffer dips in revenue due to the ongoing crisis but that the top-flight outfits have their financial situation under control.
“You have clubs playing behind closed doors, so a lot of revenue will go. For clubs like Barca, Real and Atletico who generate significant revenues from stadium tours, that option will not be available for the foreseeable future. So yes, there will be a financial impact. But as far as the smaller clubs are concerned, I think we are in the best situation possible given the disaster we are facing.
“Why am I saying this? Because part of the work La Liga has been doing in the last five years is the economic control of clubs, so their debts have reduced and financially they are in a good situation to face a crisis like this. It doesn’t mean that clubs won’t suffer; of course they will. But at least we are facing this crisis with clubs’ finances under control,” he said.
“If this had happened seven-eight years ago, the situation would have been different for half of the clubs. But they are all in good financial situation because if they weren’t, they couldn’t be in La Liga. That’s part of the financial control measures that Mr. (Javier) Tebas brought when he became president of La Liga,” Cachaza added.
Elaborating on the kind of support La Liga is offering to lower leagues, Cachaza said, “We have reached an agreement with the government where La Liga is increasing the money we give for non-professional football and also for other sports federations through the ministry of sport.” Non-professional football refers to leagues below the second tier Segunda Division, including Segunda Division B, Tercera Division, as well as women’s football.
“The sale of La Liga broadcast rights is controlled by a government law. That law, from 2015, stated that 1% of this broadcast revenue would go to non-professional football and 0.5% would go to sports ministry for helping other sports federations. Now the help to non-professional football has increased from 1% to 2% and the help to the sports ministry has increased from 0.5% to 1.5%. What does it mean in monetary terms? It means that in four years, La Liga will be supporting non-professional football and other federations with €200 million euros. That’s around Rs. 1600 crore,” Cachaza said.
The La Liga India chief also said plans are in place to help resume the league as soon as a government approval is received. As per the league’s plans, all remaining games will be held in the home venues of teams, and not neutral stadia, behind closed doors. There is also a protocol in place to deal with players testing positive, like in Germany’s Bundesliga, he said.
“This week is about preparing the grounds and testing. Next week will be about individual training. The week starting May 18 will have small group training and the week starting May 25 will see half squad practicing. Full squad practice can start from June 1. We cannot say exactly when we can come back. Everything will depend on how the health crisis in Spain develops. It has been evolving in a favourable way in the last few days, so we are quite confident of following the routine I have mentioned. But we cannot say a specific date unless we have an official green light from the government,” Cachaza explained.
“The league will have finish before the end of July. As per the agreement between UEFA and domestic leagues, August will be reserved for finishing Champions League and Europa League.”