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Is La Liga’s Economic Control regulations outsmarting the rest of the ‘Big Five’?

In the 2019/20 football season, a time which was plagued by the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, La Liga’s Economic Control regulations benefited both of the two top divisions in Spain.

Overall, Spain’s top two divisions posted a 77-million-euro net profit in the 2019/20 season, whilst other top leagues such as the Bundesliga 1 and 2 suffered a net loss of 213 million euros.

La Liga was the only one of Europe’s top five major competitions to turn a profit during the 2019/20 season and the Economic Control mechanisms played a vital role in achieving that feat.

But what exactly is La Liga’s Economic Control? Is it similar to the A-League’s salary cap?

La Liga’s Economic Control, launched in 2013, is a regulatory framework that was self-imposed by the La Liga clubs with the clear objective of guaranteeing the sustainability of the competition and of the clubs themselves through financial review.

What makes the control measures different to UEFA’s Financial Fair play is that La Liga’s Economic Control has a preventative nature. The clubs are aware of how much they can spend in advance, allowing them to easily stay within the limits and prevent an accumulation of debt which is unstainable.

These measures differentiate La Liga from the rest of the major five European leagues, when it comes to activity in the transfer market.

When making signings in the market, one of the pillars of Economic Control is noticeably important, that of the Squad Cost Limit (SCL).

The SCL is essentially the amount that each club can spend on their squad. The framework isn’t just concerned with the salaries of these professionals but other factors too, such as image right payments, variable payments, license fees and other remunerations.

Overall, the limit for each club corresponds to this equation: Budgeted non-sporting expenses are subtracted from the budgeted revenues, taking also into account the debt repayments. The remaining sum is the SCL of the club in question.

When a club wants to sign a new player, they send all the documentation to La Liga, who will authorise or reject the registration of the player – based on the rules and on the SCL at the date of the application.

La Liga have a valuation body – who use reports from independent experts and follow the rules set out in the policy framework. They are allowed, at any time, to revise any particular operation. For example – they can revise a deal to ensure that it is in line with current market values and/or economic trends.

This guarantees that all registrations of players by La Liga clubs are in line with Economic Control regulations. Only in this way can it be certain that all of the teams are competing equally and that there is no form of financial doping, ensuring the sustainable growth of La Liga clubs.

Overall, the implementation of these regulations has helped La Liga hold on to a strong financial position since 2013.

From 2014/15 to 2019/20, the combined equity of La Liga clubs rose by 250%, with debt owed to public bodies going down from €650m in 2013 (the majority overdue) to just €23m in 2021 (all up to date).

Also, complaints from players over non-payment have fallen drastically, from €89m worth in 2011 to €1.5m worth in 2021, with most of the current objections stemming from conflicting interpretations of criteria, rather than unsubstantiated failures to pay.

General Manager at Sevilla FC, Jose Maria Cruz, recently summed it up best.

Speaking at the World Football Summit Europe conference, he credited the success of the economic regulations as a major factor in to why the Spanish competition was so well prepared to deal with the effects of a global pandemic.

“We have been very lucky in Spain and in Europe because we were better prepared than in the past,” he said at the World Football Summit Europe conference recently.

“If a pandemic like this had come five years ago, it would have been traumatic for the football industry…the Economic Control from La Liga, that has been functioning very well, has helped us.”

Will other leagues around the world look to adopt a similar type of model? What do you make of the A-League’s current regulations in comparison?

Get in touch with us via our social channels.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Paramount+ secures Premier League deal overseas

A-Leagues broadcaster Paramount+ has secured a three-year deal for English Premier League broadcast rights in Mexico and Central America.

A-Leagues broadcaster Paramount+ has secured a three-year deal for English Premier League rights in Mexico and Central America from the start of the 2022/23 season.

The new partnership will mark the end of pay-TV provider Sky Mexico’s reign as the only Premier League broadcaster in the region.

All 380 English Premier League matches will be streamed live through Paramount+ and ‘PlutoTV’ who is the aggregated streaming platform for Paramount+.

The contract covers Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. It also includes Belize and the Dominican Republic but on a non-exclusive basis.

Paramount+, owned by ViacomCBS, has also secured a Premier League feed for its platforms featuring 24/7 coverage of the competition.

ViacomCBS launched Paramount+ in the US in 2019 with several high-profile soccer rights acquisitions. This included International matches, CONCACAF, UEFA Champions League, as well as top flight football from Italy, Argentina and Brazil.

The Premier League rights deal marks an expansion of operations in Central America ahead of moving into a number of additional territories by 2023, including the UK, Ireland, Germany and Italy.

Premier League Chief Executive Officer, Paul Molnar:

“We are very happy that ViacomCBS views the Premier League and our clubs as a vital part of their live sports offering,” he said.

“ViacomCBS platforms, including Paramount+ and Pluto TV, will be an outstanding home for the Premier League and we look forward to working together to showcase the league to new and existing fans throughout Central America and Mexico.”

Paramount+ has already made their mark in Australia, providing live coverage for A-League men’s and women’s competitions for subscribers to the platform.

ViacomCBS President and Chief Executive, Raffaele Annecchino:

“We know audiences around the world are passionate about sports, and especially about football. This partnership with the Premier League brings exclusive content directly to those fans, live for the first time on Paramount+ in Mexico and Central America,” he said.

“Live sports are an important differentiator for our streaming service, and as we’ve seen in the US and Australia, we are confident this will drive subscriber growth as we continue to offer the best mix of entertainment and now – live sports.”

LaLiga celebrates five years of international growth

LaLiga has celebrated five years of it's very own unique international structure that has driven worldwide expansion of the competition.

LaLiga has celebrated five years of it’s very own unique international structure that has driven worldwide expansion of the competition, turning the Spanish league into a world-leading reference for the sports industry.

The LaLiga Global Network program was launched in early January 2017, and is present in 41 different countries, with 44 on-site delegates and another 11 employees working from LaLiga headquarters in Madrid.

The program also has 11 international offices and two joint ventures in North America and China. The international expansion strategy has covered over 90 different countries, boasting an extreme amount of growth throughout a five-year period.

It is a big reason why more and more people around the world are falling in love with LaLiga football.

LaLiga executive director Oscar Mayo:

“Five years ago, we embarked on an ambitious mission to bring the entertainment and emotion of LaLiga to more fans around the world and to help grow football as a sport everywhere,” he said.

“We are very proud that LaLiga and its main protagonists, clubs, players, coaches, are closer today to more people around the world than ever before.

“That said, this is just the beginning, together with clubs and with the support of our new partner CVC, we will give our international efforts a massive boost.”

The internationalisation strategy has had a positive effect in the growth of the community within LaLiga facts across the globe, as the league now possesses 146 million followers.

LaLiga produces plenty of content, however what is unique is that the content is published in over 20 different languages across 17 different social media platforms, allowing discussions about the league to occur in many different places.

Out of all the top five leagues in Europe, LaLiga has the largest following. Even in recent years, the number of international activations organised by LaLiga has doubled, reaching 1,222 across more than 90 countries.

Mayo continued:

“When it comes to football fans outside of Spain, we always say that we would like to be everyone’s second most popular league, after their local league,” he said.

“National leagues are the true engine of football and that’s why LaLiga is sharing the recipe of its own success with leagues, federations and clubs around the world.

“The growing number of commercial partnerships around the world is a sign of the increasing relevance of LaLiga. Our commercial partner are a very important part of LaLiga fan engagement.”

La Liga has had 247% in the value of the competitions’ international audiovisual rights since 2013/14 and a boost to the value of the LaLiga brand.

The numbers confirm that Spanish football has captivated fans all over the world, whilst attesting to the success of the internationalisation process.

“We are on an exciting journey to entertain people around the globe. We will continue to make bold bets to bring Spanish football fans everywhere great entertainment and to introduce our competition to more people everywhere. We are only just getting started,” Mayo said.

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