Javier Tebas. SUR
Marketing needed

Marketing needed


Javier Tebas, president of La Liga, should work on bringing the Spanish league into the modern world

Friday, 3 February 2023, 11:52


It's a little bit rich of La Liga's top brass to claim Premier League clubs are 'doping' the transfer market when they have spent years breaking the transfer limits.

Yes, the amounts of money spent in the market by English clubs is terrifying. Chelsea alone invested three times as much on new players during the winter market than the whole of the other top four leagues combined.

Javier Tebas is the president of a league where €100-million deals have been negotiated on eight occasions, and then there's the ridiculous €222 million pocketed by Barcelona when Neymar moved to Paris Saint Germain.

What disturbs Señor Tebas is the fact that lowly Nottingham Forest can these days afford to do business with PSG whilst the Spanish giants can no longer compete for top-shelf signings.

When the window closed, Premier League clubs had concluded €930 million worth of business compared to just €30 million worth of trades involving Liga clubs.

"The British market is a doped market," said President Tebas. "You can see it clearly in this winter market, where Chelsea have made almost half of the signings in the Premier League."

His accusation is that English clubs are using inventive methods to find the cash for new signings. It could be a training ground sponsorship with a holding company that nobody has ever heard of or a so-called sports-washing arrangement from a far-off land.

He does have a very good point. The buzz word in modern football is amortisation. Basically, you spread the transfer fee over a long number of years. Chelsea are leading the market by offering eight-year contracts to their new signings. It's like buying a new car on HP, if you can't afford to pay cash up front, you make a deposit and pay the rest in time.

He's right, it does inflate the market by allowing clubs with smart accountants to negotiate the transfer of the hottest young talent and the market does become inflated.

La Liga does employ its fair share of creative money men too. Nobody had heard of 'financial levers' until Barcelona started pulling them last summer. It has allowed the club to crawl out of a financial black hole by borrowing against future income.

My feeling is that Tebas is correct in many respects. English clubs need to be scrutinised regarding the UEFA Financial Fair Play rules. Spanish clubs are adhering to the guidelines, and it will make them fiscally healthier in the long-term.

He also needs to look at how exceptionally organised the EPL is compared to Spain. Supporters of English clubs can make plans around fixtures until the end of March. This helps with travel and television deals. Fans of Spanish clubs can't plan more than sixteen days ahead at the time of writing. A trip to watch Barcelona or Madrid could mean a kick-off on any one of four days!

The EPL is watched live in virtually every country around the world. I'm a Spanish football expert and have absolutely no idea how I can watch the league games, or the excellent La Liga TV channel when I'm in the UK. There's no deal in place for Copa del Rey matches, mind you the dates haven't yet been confirmed. A 'Google search' is inconclusive.

President Tebas is doing a fine job in getting his clubs onto the financial straight and narrow, but instead of baiting other bodies, he needs to work on completely organising the marketing of La Liga. It's an exceptional product - get out there and bring it into the modern world.

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