Soccerex Day Two: La Liga TV Rights Warning, Prince Ali Plans Candidate Discussions, Maradona Blasts FIFA ‘Anarchy’

May 5, 2015

By Christian Radnedge

New La Liga TV rights will shake up clubs, says marketing leader

La Liga clubs need to “change their mindset” commercially thanks to the new centralised TV rights legislation, according to a Spanish league marketing expert.

Mario Bayarri is vice-president of the Middle East region for Media Pro, the organisation contracted to handle the media rights for La Liga. He was speaking on Monday at the Soccerex Asian Forum near the Dead Sea resort in Jordan when he explained how clubs were going to benefit from the recent ruling.

Last Thursday the law was passed that from 2016 television rights for La Liga will be sold collectively, rather than individually where clubs negotiated their own deals.

The move has been embraced by the Spanish football community which has been dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona – last year both clubs shared around 280million Euros between them.

SoccerexAsianForum8But Bayarri warned that clubs will have to work harder in the commercial field to truly exploit the value of increased exposure.

“We need to make the League work so that more revenues come, and we can attract more players especially now that we have a very strong shift-change in the domestic rights sales,” he said.

“Today one of the lowest teams in the Premier League will have the same revenue as the number three or four or five of the Premier League so that when they go to the transfer market (they have money to spend).

“So our clubs need to change their mindset. They need to be able to market the rights, go to their partners with these rights to get more revenues.”

The new legislation ensures that no club should end up receiving less than they do now.

Prince Ali Denies Reports he Will Pull Out of FIFA race

SoccerexAsianForum1Prince Ali bin al Hussein denied that he was considering pulling out of the FIFA presidential race contrary to earlier reports.

An interview with the BBC World Football programme had included quotes where it seemed the Jordanian Prince indicated he would consider withdrawing from the campaign in order to rally behind one single challenger to president Sepp Blatter.

But, speaking to reporters following the conclusion of the Soccerex Asian Forum at the Dead Sea Resort in Jordan, Prince Ali claims his quotes were taken out of context and that he was fully focused on bidding to become president alongside fellow candidates Michael van Praag of the Netherlands and former Portugal international Luis Figo.

“I think it’s taken out of context what I was saying,” he said. “The message I’m trying to make is that it’s not about one person, but that it would be ideal if we come to the conclusion as to who as a candidate has the best chance of winning and we support that candidate. 

“But having said that, I am not considering withdrawing.”

Blatter is seeking a fifth term in office and is expected to retain the support of FIFA’s 209 member associations at the congress in Zurich on May 29.

Van Praag and Figo last week also had to deny that they were considering pulling out amidst reports.

Prince Ali confirmed the three challengers were to meet soon.

He said: “It [meeting] will happen obviously, hopefully before the congress. But let me make it clear: I am not withdrawing from the race.”

In the original BBC interview, Prince Ali had said: “The important thing is that we support the person who has the best chance of making a change in FIFA.

“At some point there will be a discussion about that.”

Maradona closes conference in style

SoccerexAsianForum7The Soccerex Asian Forum closed with probably the busiest session the event is ever likely to see when Diego Maradona was interviewed.

The presentation suite was packed out as the Argentine legend recounted famous moments from his glittering career – including his famous goal against England in the 1986 World Cup which he went on to win as captain.

However, while at the forum Maradona launched a stinging attack on FIFA president Sepp Blatter and said that the organisation, which has been blighted by allegations of corruption, was in “anarchy”.

He said: “As the football world knows, inside FIFA there is total anarchy, where there is only one man [Blatter] who decides everything. But he knows absolutely nothing. Therefore it is time for a change. And it is so because even his colleagues should actually advise him to leave.

“He has done a lot of damage to football since he has been there. It’s time for him to step aside and let us, who are full of strength, renovate football.

“Because football is becoming poorer and more corrupt.”

With such a strong finish to the event, a third edition in the region next year would look to be fairly likely. 

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