LaLiga and RFEF squabble over schedule after pandemic-hit 2019-20; FTA deal in Nigeria
Spanish soccer’s LaLiga is awaiting a ruling from the CSD, the country’s high sports council, to resolve a heated dispute with the RFEF, the national federation, over the scheduling of matches.
The league and the federation have been embroiled in a protracted row over the playing of games on Monday and Friday nights, which resulted in last week’s proposed season opener between Granada and Athletic Bilbao being delayed by a day to Saturday, and the match between Alaves and Real Betis being brought forward by a day to Sunday,
The clash means there is uncertainty over whether the fixtures between Getafe and Osasuna this Friday and between Real Betis and Real Valladolid next Monday will go ahead as scheduled.
The RFEF is blocking the playing of matches on the two nights, claiming legal backing for its assertion that it is responsible for scheduling.
This is disputed by LaLiga, which is threatening to sue the federation for loss of revenue from the timeslots not being used.
In the meantime, it has lodged an appeal with the CSD, which is expected to issue a ruling late on Wednesday.
LaLiga is eager to play matches on Mondays and Fridays to help compensate for losses in the 2019-20 season, which was heavily disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The season was completed, after a three-month hiatus, in June and July with matches on all days, but with the RFEF claiming that it showed “goodwill” in agreeing to fixtures being played on both Mondays and Fridays.
Under a temporary measure, prior to the break, there had been fixtures on Fridays, but not on Mondays.
The situation has been unsettling for clubs, coaches and players, with Osasuna saying ahead of their second LaLiga this week: “It’s incomprehensible that we do not know with any security when the game will be played.”
Meanwhile, LaLiga has revealed that its latest accounts show a net loss of €5.7 million ($6.75 million) for the 2019-20 season.
Revenue was down by 1.9 per cent to €1.9 billion.
Income from audiovisual rights, by far the main source of income, dropped by 2.6 per cent to €1.82 billion, as the impact of the pandemic and the break in the season exceeded an increase of €58 million in the value of contracts.
However, sponsorship revenue rose by 18.7 per cent to €92.4 million on the back of new deals with Puma, BKT and Livescore and renewals with the likes of Budweiser and EA Sports.
In other developments, LaLiga will be enjoying wider coverage in Nigeria this season after OurTV, a free-to-air television broadcaster, acquired rights to the league in a sub-licensing deal.
The satellite-based direct-to-home service has reached an agreement with MBS Sports, an agency which last month acquired a package of rights to 33 live free-to-air matches in the sub-Saharan region for 2020-21 campaign.
Under its deal with LaLiga, MBS is offering free-to-air broadcasters across the region access to one live game per week, plus delayed games and weekly highlights.
Elsewhere, iQIYI Sports, the Chinese digital streaming platform, has rolled out an official channel for LaLiga giants Barcelona.
The platform holds broadcasting rights to the league in China.
Barcelona are the first LaLiga club to have their own channel on iQIYI, and will serve up exclusive and non-exclusive videos, including behind-the-scenes footage, training sessions, player challenges, interviews and updates.Sportcal