javier tebas

LaLiga president Javier Tebas: “CVC deal is not purely financial”

· by WFS2017

After LaLiga last month sealed majority approval for a multi-billion-euro agreement with private equity firm CVC, the Spanish league’s president Javier Tebas outlined the motivations for the collaboration to close out the fifth edition of WFS Europe, held at Atlético Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium. 

Tebas insisted that the deal is not solely a financial one, even though the crux of the deal is the approximately €2.1bn in funding for a stake of around 11 percent in audiovisual rights over the next 50 years. 

“People think it’s an operation for financing and it’s not,” he said. “With this operation, we’re not mortgaging the audiovisual rights of any clubs. With this operation, CVC assumes the risk. If we go down in revenues then they’ll receive less or not earn money. If revenues go up then they’ll earn money.”

Of LaLiga’s 42 professional clubs, 38 backed the agreement. However, Barcelona and Real Madrid were among the four to vote against, along with Athletic Club and Real Oviedo. This doesn’t worry Tebas, however.

“We have to believe in democracy and votes and each club has one vote and it doesn’t depend on assets,” explained Tebas in WFS Europe’s final panel of the two-day summit. 

“Obviously, we have to work for the majority. If you look at why they’re against this then it’s because they’re working for a Super League project, which will do damage to the national leagues. So, how could they support the growth of LaLiga?” 

Tebas characterised the Super League project as being “Robin Hood, but backwards” during his appearance on the WFS Main Stage. 

Moving on to other topics, the LaLiga president spent time discussing the league’s upcoming tender for national audiovisual rights for Spain’s professional divisions. This time, there is no three-year limit on the deal. 

“I can affirm here, with complete certainty, that if the tender were only three years then there would be just one competitor, but with four or five years we’ll have more,” he stated. 

Tebas also revealed that LaLiga are open to new ideas and to working with OTTs. As for the possibility of the rights being split up so much that Spanish viewers will require multiple different subscriptions in order to watch all the top-flight matches, he explained that “this would be nothing new” by pointing to the situation in other countries.

Tebas’ words concluded a day that started with a moving discourse from Khalida Popal, the former Afghan footballer who is the founder of the Girl Power Organisation. Given the current situation in Afghanistan, Popal expressed her concern for women in the country and pleaded for support from the relevant bodies and institutions.  

“I’m going to use my voice and use media to tell the story of why I’m worried about what is happening, as I need help for my girls,” she stated on the WFS Stage. 

There were some major announcements to end WFS Europe, with DAZN announcing that it will join Common Goal in a multi-year partnership. This includes a one percent global employee time and resource commitment.

World Football Summit had big news to share, too, with it announced that next year’s WFS Europe will be taking place in Seville after the global football industry platform struck a deal with the Government of Seville.

“At World Football Summit, we’re enormously passionate about both football, and the football industry, and we know that the city of Seville shares that passion,” said World Football Summit director, Marian Otamendi.

“We’re heading to the south of Spain on the back of a triumphant return to physical events at the Wanda Metropolitano, and the entire World Football Summit team is extremely motivated to deliver a football industry event like no other when we land in Seville.”

Finally, one other highlight of day two was the chance to hear from Mauricio Macri, the former president of Argentina and current executive chairman of the FIFA Foundation. 

“Nothing creates passion like football, not even politics, and I would know as I’ve been a president in both,” said Macri, as he joined WFS’s hybrid debut virtually from Argentina. 

Macri went on to discuss South American football and insisted that sporting institutions from his continent can and should learn from their counterparts around the world at events – such as World Football Summit. 

“I think the evolution, corrections and controls that have been implemented in Europe guarantee improvement,” he added. “In Latin America, we’re still behind in this. We have things we should fix. But, we have a big advantage if all stakeholders commit to change as we have the European experience that we can look to and follow.”