The Spanish Liga season could be delayed as the players'
union prepares to go on strike for the first two match days.
Without boring you with details, players want guarantees
they will continue to be paid if their club goes into administration. The
clubs, who would have to foot the bill, are saying no.
In other news, last night club football's greatest rivalry
served up yet another classic - a match filled with spectacular football and
spiteful malice. A white-hot feud that burns as brightly as ever.
It was the sixth time Barcelona have played Real Madrid in
the space of four months, and they keep delivering the goods. Early Doors wants
Which made ED think: why does Spain need a league anyway?
It's basically SPL south as it is, and the top two only drop points against
each other. Wouldn't you prefer it if we just had a Clasico every week?
When the teams play you don't just get the Barcelona
audience and the Real Madrid audience (though both are considerable). Put those
two magic ingredients together and suddenly everyone is interested.
Better still, they always serve up fantastic entertainment
and the intensity NEVER drops. Even in the flipping Super Cup (clue: if a cup
has to tell you how great it is, it's probably not worth winning) we had an
absolutely compelling spectacle and a ruckus at the end that culminated with
Mourinho poking Barca coach Tito Vilanov in the face.
It might be petulant, but ED loves it. And it is all the
more forgiveable because the quality of the football is so magnificent.
ED doesn't even know which side to take. As an
Orwell-spouting Barton-esque sixth former it had Barca sympathies.
Then it realised how indescribably smug they are, and it
sort of wants Real to redress the recent balance of power. Smug v Arrogant? Who
More than anything, ED just loves the football.
So why not? Just Barcelona v Real Madrid and Real Madrid v
Barcelona for an entire season.
Like a long-running West End show, they could churn out
performance after performance, night after night, year after year. It could
become sport's answer to The Mousetrap.
Given an estimated two thirds of the Spanish population
support one of the two big boys, you could take it on tour and give it a
UFC-style numbering system: 'LIVE from Pamplona, it's Clasico 83!!'
Wouldn't you go and watch Messi, Xavi and Ronaldo if they
came to your municipal sports facility?
This, of course, is exactly why Spain finds itself in its
The intense (and, to be fair, understandable) focus on the
big beasts has been to the detriment of the others.
Unlike most other top leagues, Spanish clubs negotiate their
own TV deals. The consequence is a spectacular disparity in revenue because,
frankly, who wants to watch Racing Santander?
Real Madrid and Barcelona take in roughly €90m a year more
than the next highest earners, Valencia.
The Premier League is much more even - half of the domestic
and all of the foreign revenue is split equally.
Not for any altruistic reasons of course, but because the
clubs recognise the importance of a competitive top flight.
The consequence is that 18 of La Liga's 20 sides make less
from TV than every single Premier League side.
Despite piffling TV money and (in many cases) falling
attendances, clubs spend beyond their means - which brings us to the nature of
Under Spanish law it is easy for clubs to go into
administration, and they are not penalised by the league for doing so.
Consequently, they take massive risks, and when it all goes
wrong they call in the administrators - as a result, players often do not get
The players' union reckons 200 Primera Division players are
owed money - and the scale of the payments is precisely why the clubs won't go
for it. It would cost them a fortune to bail out their defaulting brethren.
So ED doesn't know what to think. The fact that two sides so
brilliant can go head to head is a borderline miracle - but the conditions that
created these teams are killing Spanish football. Confusing.
You know what ED needs to clear its head? Another Clasico.
QUOTE OF THE DAY 1: Gerard Pique: "Mourinho is wrecking Spanish football. People are looking
for culprits but they are in Madrid. Someone needs to get the video, analyse it
and say who is to blame. We hope that on Thursday everyone will be talking
about a great game of football and not the melee. It isn't the first time this
has happened ... it is always the same people. Someone needs to sort this
QUOTE OF THE DAY 2: Jose Mourinho: "Marcelo got a red card because we all know what happens
after tackles in certain areas of the pitch. It was a spectacular game from the
first to last minute. But from the first minute of the second half, and I don't
criticise it because I know people do it, the ballboys hid the balls. It
happens with small teams when they find themselves in difficulties ... I have
been polite and played like a man and not fallen to the ground at the first
touch. I don't know who Vilanova is."
COMING UP: Europa League mayhem! Thun v Stoke (18:30 UK
time), Fulham v Dnipro (19:30), Hearts v Tottenham Hotspur (19:45), Maribor v
Rangers (19:45), Nacional v Birmingham (19:45) and Celtic v Sion (20:05).