Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao are taking legal action against La Liga over a € 1.994 billion (£ 1.7 billion) private equity deal that the league’s directors agreed on last week.
All but five of the 42 clubs in the top two Spanish divisions have signed up for CVC Capital Partners’ investment package, the first of its kind in Europe.
Four clubs – the top trio and Ibiza, according to reports – have given up, while one abstained.
The agreement is “an illegal transaction that causes irreparable damage to the entire Spanish football sector and blatantly violates the most basic principles of Spanish sports law and La Liga statutes,” Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao said in a statement.
The deal, dubbed “La Liga Boost,” buys CVC an 8.2 percent stake in a new company that will earn broadcast revenues and sponsorship rights for 50 years.
Commits clubs to allocate 70% of funds for investments in new infrastructure and modernization projects. Up to 15% can be used to sign players, with the remaining 15% to reduce debt.
La Liga said they confirmed the legality of the deal.
“This Real Madrid CF decision was a predictable reaction given the club’s history of frontal opposition and appeal against any strategic initiative that represents progress and a boost for the competition and its clubs,” he said in a statement.
La Liga had said the deal would be worth £ 2.3bn when it was first unveiled in August. The lower figure announced on Friday reflects opt-outs and will be shared among participating clubs and paid for over a three-year period, La Liga said.
The objecting clubs will not take any share of the CVC investment, although they will continue to receive their allotted share of TV rights money, the league added.
“This is a new milestone in the history of La Liga and its clubs,” said La Liga president Javier Tebas.
“It allows us to continue our transformation to a global digital entertainment company by improving competition and enhancing the fan experience.”
Goldman Sachs will contribute a portion of the funds CVC will invest in the Spanish football league and recover in 50 years, La Liga and fund sources said.
The CVC deal was in danger of going up in smoke last week when Barcelona, Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao proposed an alternative proposal for JPMorgan, Bank of America and HSBC to jointly lend € 2 billion in exchange for a fixed annual payment. of 115 million euros (97.9 million pounds) over 25 years, a document seen by Reuters shown.
Barcelona and Real Madrid were also among the driving forces behind a failed plan to launch a separatist European Super League earlier this year and have vowed to keep trying to create it.
CVC has tried to invest in one of Europe’s top leagues on two previous occasions, after separate plans with Italy’s Serie A and German Bundesliga to buy media rights were scrapped earlier this year.
CVC is also preparing preliminary offers for a stake in the French football league’s media rights business, a source said. Reuters this week.
CVC has also invested in Formula 1, Moto GP and rugby, and is behind a new commercial venture that is preparing to merge the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).