Tebas: LaLiga clubs need nearly €500m to see out season
Javier Tebas, president of Spanish soccer’s LaLiga, has said it will cost clubs almost €500 million ($591 million) to finish the 2020-21 season due to the financial fallout of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the government’s decision to ban betting sponsorships.
Speaking at the Marca Sports Weekend digital conference, Tebas said the pandemic represented the biggest crisis and challenge the league had ever faced and clubs needed €490 million to cover their expenses.
Even top clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid have been advised to reduce their wage bills, while Valencia have been forced to sell players as the health situations means spectators are currently barred from stadiums.
Tebas said: “There is a large industry behind LaLiga with many jobs that depend on it. According to the latest reports, there are 180,000 jobs. Defending this industry is a social responsibility. We have to be an example, because that serves to grow and create more jobs. People need to understand that LaLiga has a lot of responsibility.
“We still have excess spending of about €500 million as clubs can’t remove players with contracts – an effort has to be made to reduce salaries. Some clubs have to continue to try and reduce the wage bill.
“To end the season, Spanish football will need to spend about €490 million to pay the club expenses, but not to all clubs. We’ve detected 17, some of whom are short €100 million and others €3 million - but the club missing €3 million might be in worse shape than the one missing €100 million.
“We’re working to fix it. Valencia is no longer in the Champions League, for example, and 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.”
Last week, Barcelona announced they had failed to reach an agreement with their players over pay cuts as they look to save €200 million. Before the pandemic, players’ wages took up 61 per cent of the club’s revenue, estimated at about €1 billion per year.
Real Madrid are also reported to be discussing potential pay reductions with players. Earlier this year, first team stars joined coaching staff and executives in taking a 10 to 20 per cent cut on their salaries.
Asked about the federal approval of Spain’s Royal Decree on Advertising, banning sponsorships by betting firms, Tebas said the move would result in a revenue loss of €90 million for LaLiga clubs, which will impact the competitiveness of the league up against its European rivals.
He urged the government to suspend the ban to help the league through the financial crisis.
Tebas said: “The sponsorships by bookmakers should be regulated instead of being prohibited.
“We are going to have a talent crisis as the government does not know how to regulate this industry. The issue of betting, instead of prohibiting, should have been regulated because that is €90 million that we are short on.
“The [English] Premier League does not have that and now national and foreign footballers are going to have offers from Italian teams, the players are going to cost half of what they cost us.”