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Barcelona President Wants Smaller La Liga

Some fascinating comments by Barcelona president Sandro Rosell today in which he wants to see the Spanish league cut from 20 clubs to 16, limits placed on wealthy foreign owners and a more equitable sharing of TV revenue.

Speaking at the International Football Arena conference, Rosell said:

“My opinion is that our league has too many clubs. We have 20 and we should go down to 18, then to 16. This will mean that all the clubs will be more competitive and we can reduce players’ salaries”.

Rosell also acknowledge for the first time that Spain needs to change the system of distributing television money under which the bulk of it goes to Barcelona and Real Madrid, giving them a huge financial advantage over their La Liga rivals.

“It is the only league where TV rights are negotiated individually and some time in the next three or four or five years we have to put it all in one pot and make the distribution the way it is in Serie A and the Premier League,” he said. This is something Barcelona and Real Madrid are talking to the other clubs about; we have to listen to the demands of the other 18 clubs. The Spanish league is the second most popular (in Europe), but we are facing huge problems financially speaking. None of the clubs in Spain are in a good position; we owe a lot of money to the banks. (At) Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Osasuna, the situation is not good but it is under control. As for the other 16 teams, some are in a very bad position and I don’t think they will come back; maybe next year they will go to the second or third division or disappear”.

Rosell added:

“The most important thing is to reduce the number of clubs for the future and put financial conditions that have to be accomplished, also in terms of people from abroad buying clubs in Spain. They are coming to Spain and I don’t like this but it’s happening. They have (bought) Malaga and Santander and some other clubs; my question is where we go and if this fair on the associations when these clubs can increase capital with no limits”.

Fascinating comments by Rosell. Changing the size of La Liga to 16 teams is a radical idea, but I believe it would need FIFA approval as they have decided that all the top leagues should have 20 teams.

As for a better distribution of TV rights, it is about time that someone at Barcelona or Real Madrid realized that this is the only way to ensure the long term financial stability of the league.