Letter from Athletic Club, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF to all LaLiga clubs
First of all, we would like to reiterate that we are fully aware of the financial difficulties facing the Spanish football industry. The Covid pandemic has had a dramatic impact on our business, forcing us to close stadiums and face an unprecedented drop in our income, from which we have not yet recovered. For this reason, we are convinced that Spanish football needs a rational and sustainable financial solution which will allow us all to return to normal and face the future with optimism. In this letter, we offer what we consider to be the best solution.
Before that, we would also like to remind you that our clubs, along with all of you, have tirelessly contributed, since 1929, to creating the history of La Liga, which today is one of the main sporting competitions in the world. Our commitment to competition is unquestionable.
We must also point out to you that our clubs retain their historical associative structure, and are therefore the property of their members – approximately 300,000 of them – who all have the right to be heard and to vote. These are clubs whose ownership and management are passed down from generation to generation, which have never distributed dividends or have no other economic goal than to be able to provide their teams with the best possible resources to be competitive in the field. ground.
It is from the perspective of our century-old commitment to Spanish football and its viability that in August of this year we expressed our deepest opposition to the deal proposed by LaLiga with private equity fund CVC. , the “LaLiga Impulse Project”, which has now reformulated in terms equally ruinous for Spanish football and, moreover, not free from serious irregularities (both in form and in substance).
At this very moment in history, where global financial markets offer unique opportunities to fund long-term projects in a sustainable manner, we have a duty to oppose a deal like the one proposed by La Liga with CVC, which would weigh financially on the future. of our football.
Moreover, CVC cannot be considered as a strategic partner of Spanish football but, as everyone knows, as a financial investor. Proof of this is that CVC, made up of a small group of financial executives, is involved in a wide range of sectors of our economy such as the energy sector, textiles, food industry, telecommunications, catering. and infrastructure, among others. Likewise, CVC executives have publicly revealed their intention to disassociate themselves from the LaLiga Impulse project within a maximum period of “8 to 10 years” and transfer their position to another investor – despite the fact that the mortgage on the clubs would remain in effect for 50 years. It is not a strategic partner, it is a financial investor.
And, as a financial investor, the proposal to ‘propel’ Spanish football is essentially to seek out and hire specialists in the field to help La Liga grow. It is obvious that La Liga can – and must – make the necessary appointments to maximize its growth potential, but it must do so with its own resources, without giving up its independence, without losing full ownership of its affairs and without clubs do not mortgage their financial future. .
On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that Spanish clubs are currently one of the most important sports competitions in the world and, therefore, we have privileged access to very reasonable sources of funding in the global financial markets. , under conditions that are much more attractive than those offered by private equity funds. It would be irresponsible of us not to explore the feasibility of rational and sustainable alternatives before making irreparable decisions.
Based on our fairly recent experience in financing operations in this industry, and having carried out the appropriate preparatory work with our financial and legal advisers, we are able to present to Spanish football a long-term, sustainable, rational and legal alternative financial solution for all, a “Sustainable Project”, which, at least, deserves to be duly explored:
-The sustainable project would allow all LaLiga and Primera RFEF clubs to access the same funds offered by CVC, while assuming infinitely better costs and conditions.
-The Sustainable Project would make it possible to structure the operation with a real and total cost for the clubs of the order of 2.5% -3.0% per year and for one maximum term of 25 years.
-The comparison of the Sustainable Project with the terms of the proposal promoted by LaLiga with the CVC fund is simple:
– based on data provided by LaLiga in “LaLiga Impulse project“And always according to the terms of the terms of the” base case “:
-the total financial cost of the LaLiga Impulse Project, which would be assumed by the Spanish clubs on 50 years, would amount to 13.1 billion euros, in exchange for a total investment by CVC of 2 billion euros (which, in addition, would not be paid on the first day, but in installments over 4 years), and
-The total financial cost of the Sustainable Project, which would be assumed by the Spanish clubs for 25 years, would amount to 900 million euros, in exchange for a total investment of 2 billion euros by the funders (which, in addition, would be fully transferred to the clubs the first year, without any payment);
consequently, according to the “base case” presented by LaLiga and CVC, the Sustainable Project would save Spanish clubs â¬ 12.2 billion, which makes it a proposal 15 times more economical and which, in addition, only includes commitments for 25 years, and not 50.
–The Sustainable Project also guarantees compliance with the regulations in force. and, in particular, with Royal Decree-Law 5/2015, as it is structured directly by the clubs without the direct participation of LaLiga. In this way:
–direct club ownership of audiovisual rights is not violated, and the rights of a third party are not compromised;
–no structure or accounting concept is applied for artificial purposes (a point on which the proposal now put forward by La Liga is much more irregular, if possible, than the one presented – and withdrawn – in August); and
–no participation in management and La Liga governance is entrusted to any entity outside the world of football.
For a better understanding of the terms of the Sustainable Project, we attach the following as Annex to this letter:
-The summary of the main terms of the Sustainable Project Term Sheet. This document has been prepared by our financial advisers, with the help and indication of preconditions by a group of financial institutions of prestige and recognized experience in similar operations (Section 1);
a comparison of the financial impact of the Sustainable Project against the deal proposed by La Liga and CVC, based on various financial scenarios (and, in particular, its “base case”) (Section 2); and
-The assessment of our legal services and legal advisers of some of the main shortcomings of the LaLiga Impulse project, and the reasons why these shortcomings would not be applicable to our proposal (Section 3).
In conclusion, it is puzzling that given the existence of viable, reasonable and sustainable financial alternatives like the one we present here, La Liga has not promoted a competitive, open and transparent process with the aim of seeking to maximize the financial conditions for all clubs. . We still have time to do it.
We call on all players and decision-makers in Spanish football to reflect on this issue. It is essential that we act with common sense and explore all available alternatives (such as the Sustainable Project proposed here or any framework that yields similar benefits), in order to enable clubs to solve their financial problems in a rational and sustainable manner, without commit serious irregularities or harm the future of Spanish football for the next half century.
By working together, we offer you our experience and resources to carry out The Sustainable Project, or any other financially sensible and law-abiding operation in a satisfactory manner.
Aitor Elizegi Joan Laporta Florentino PÃ©rez
Athletic club FC Barcelona Real Madrid CF