Javier Tebas: Decree blackout hurts La Liga at its crisis point

La Liga president Javier Tebas has urged Spain’s coalition government to suspend its prohibition of betting sponsorships as the league clubs face an immediate funding crisis.

Speaking at the “Marca Sports Weekend” digital conference, Tebas laid out the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on La Liga finances, which leaves clubs facing a ‘€500 million funding shortfall to finish the season’.

Tebas remarked that clubs have been instructed to “again reduce their wage bills, which exceed €500 million because players cannot be removed from contracts” – with Spanish giants Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Valencia CF highlighted as La Liga’s biggest concerns.

“We’re working to fix it,” he said. “Valencia is no longer in the Champions League, for example. They’ve been criticised for selling players but they have to, and Barcelona have to lower their wage bill to finish the season. They have no other option.”

Probed on the federal approval of Spain’s Royal Decree on Advertising, Tebas reiterated La Liga’s formal stance to ministers that “the sponsorship by bookmakers should be regulated instead of being prohibited”.

Tebas maintained that a blackout of betting sponsorships would cost La Liga clubs around €90 million in revenues – a factor that he believes will impact the competitiveness of the league against European counterparts.

“We are going to have a talent crisis as the Government does not know how to regulate this industry,” Tebas added. “The issue of betting, instead of prohibiting it, should have been regulated because that is €90 million that we are short on.

“The Premier League does not have that and now, national and foreign footballers are going to have offers from Italian teams, the clubs are going to cost half of what they cost us.”

Working in Spanish football since 1993, Tebas stated that the pandemic represented the biggest crisis and challenge that the league had ever witnessed, adding economic factors had to be urgently mitigated.

He concluded: “Latest reports state that there are 180,000 jobs dependent on football. Defending this industry is social responsibility. We have to be an example because that serves to grow and create more jobs. People need to understand that La Liga has a lot of responsibility.”

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