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Spanish clubs gang up over TV rights battle
Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido has led the charge against the two Spanish titans, inviting all the clubs except Barca and Real to his Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.
The clubs will ponder "the unequal, unfair and outrageous system of distributing the financial rights from television, which is unique in the big European leagues," Del Nido said in a statement on Thursday.
"It is a distribution that year after year favours Madrid and Barcelona to the detriment of the rest, with the differences in sporting performance ever greater, since with more television income for the giants they get better players, which in turn means better sponsors and better brand-related sales," he charged.
Real Madrid and Barcelona receive about 140 million euros ($197m) a year each from television rights, while small clubs such as Levante, Malaga or Real Sociedad get 12m.
The outspoken Del Nido blasted the existing Spanish league as "the biggest rubbish not only in Europe but in the world," in an August 29 interview with state radio RNE.
"It is a Third World league in which two clubs subtract the television money from the rest of us who are competing," he said.
"We are running down the Spanish league."
Besides Sevilla, clubs at Thursday's meeting were Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid, Real Betis, Espanyol, Granada, Malaga, Osasuna, Racing Santander, Valencia, Villarreal and Real Zaragoza.
Other clubs -- Real Sociedad, Getafe, Rayo Vallecano and Sporting Gijon -- were not at the meeting in Seville but agreed with the campaign, the Sevilla statement said.
Del Nido has also criticised Spanish league demands that radio stations pay a levy for the right to make live match reports of first and second division matches.
"For the clubs, the amount they are asking from the clubs is insignificant so it is shameful," he told RNE in last week's interview.
"Radio forms part of the spectacle. The older person or the child who listens to the game on the radio is part of it. Football has to live with radio."
At a news conference in Madrid, radio stations said on Thursday they were united in refusing the demands for payment from rights holder Mediapro and the Spanish Professional Football League (LFP).
It is the first time in the history of the game in Spain that radio stations have been asked to pay for coverage.
"We refuse negotiation. We will not pay the levy," said the movement's coordinator Alfonso Ruiz de Assin, secretary general of Spain's association of commercial radio broadcasters.
Radio stations say they are being asked to pay several million euros a season for the right to transmit live reports. They argue that listeners have a fundamental right to information about the matches.
But with few exceptions, Spanish football stadiums are barring access to radio reporters because their stations have refused to comply with the new accreditation rules.
The league says many radios skirted the rules to give live reports anyway: some following the games on television from the studio, some from public seats in the stadium and others from nearby bars.
It has threatened legal action against the radio stations.
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