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Thursday, September 15, 2011


Long have gone the days when an unfancied Valencia side devoid of any superstars could challenge and beat the mighty Real Madrid and Barcelona to win the La Liga. Infact it is nearing a decade since a side outside of the top two won the league. The huge gulf in quality between the top 2 and the rest has never been greater and the chances of any team challenging the might of the top 2 are remote and only a fool would even consider betting on a team to even finish within 10 points of Real and the majestic Catalans. So many factors could be attributed to the occurring demise of La Liga. The independent tv rights deal is one major reason why the wealth is so skewed in favour of the top clubs in Spain. The clubs for one have the complete independence to negotiate their own tv rights and thus Real Madrid with their Galacticos and the technically excellent nimble footed Catalans end up getting the most lucrative share of the pot with the lower clubs trying to scramble over the leftovers. And this pool of lower clubs has now even engulfed the 3rd and 4th best teams.

On one hand you see a Madrid pocketing a cool 130 odd+ million $ in tv rights alone and on the other hand you see Atletico pocketing 40mn$. And this directly increases the amount that the teams will be able to spend on player acquisitions and wages. No wonder Madrid and Barcelona have the luxury of smashing the transfer record at will. Barcelona were able to splash more than 50mn on only two players and this inspite of borrowing a loan in the region of 125mn pounds a year before just to pay the wages and operating costs!!!

So far so good, now bring into picture the so called revolutionary Financial Fair Play regulations of Michel Platini. A club would have live to within their earnings, Spend as much as you earn and what will it do these clubs where clearly the top teams are earning 100mn more than the rest. What message will it send out to a sheik in the middle east who wants to buy a club in Spain. Will he be able to buy his club a Champions league or even a Europa league for instance? I don't think so. Wonder how Malaga will cope once these regulations will be brought into play and how much will they be able to spend once the strings in the purse of the sheik get tightened by the FFP regulations. Will he still be motivated to hang around and watch in awe the tiki taka brilliance of the Catalans against the substandard teams of the league? Surely not.

These things have woken up the Presidents of the other league from their deep slumber and they are protesting, not everyone as of now but still are. Threats of playing a substandard side against the big 2 if they do not budge are also being branded about. These are early days after all. The big two on the other hand have their own stick to beat these lesser guys with. We are reason why people watch you, we are reason why you get the huge sums when you play against us, we are the reason why the La Liga is famous is what they are saying.

 A talk of a European super league is also being mentioned and this although remains a pipe-dream that their fellow clubs from England, Germany and Italy would be less forthcoming on joining them into. The shadow of the Scottish league looms large in Spain and don’t be fooled by the recent draw that Barcelona suffered at the hands of Sociedad at the weekend. The top players in the league that play for the other teams have started departing abroad already. The benchmark is to make a move to the top two when you start reaching the top or else go abroad. Silva did so last year. Aguero, De Gea, Mata were not hesitant to follow suit either. Aguero confessed that the lure of winning trophies at Eastlands was too hard to resist. Mata was more forthcoming when he summed up the situation more perfectly by confessing that come January there would be nothing worth fighting for, The league would be out of grasp with no hope of catching up what so at all.

The balance between Spain and England could shift again with the marquee players starting to move abroad and the EPL clubs benefiting from it. Should the current trend continue we could see more top players moving to England, wonder what will it do to the competition and the quality of the opposition that Madrid and Barcelona will face week in week out in the La Liga. The chances of having another all English final again are distant but not an impossibility that people make it out to be because of the brilliance of Real and Barcelona. Remember it is the lesser sides that make them look even more majestic and beautiful then they really might be. Ask Milan or Inter or perhaps Chelsea even.