Barcelona Said to Agree to Cut Soccer League Income Gap

Four-time European champion Barcelona agreed to a proposal to share Spanish soccer league television revenue more equally among smaller teams, two people with direct knowledge of the situation said.

Under the plan, Barcelona and Real Madrid would get no more than four times as much as the lowest-paid La Liga team from the 2016-7 season, said the people, who asked not to be identified because discussions are confidential. The two biggest clubs currently each get about 135 million euros ($172 million) from television production company Mediapro, almost 6.5 times as much as the smallest of the 20 squads.

A Real Madrid official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with club policy, said the team wants more time to discuss how to increase and share television income. Barcelona spokesman Chemi Teres declined to comment on the talks.

The league, which wants to make the championship more competitive, is aiming to incorporate the proposal into legislation by the end of the year. Real Madrid, the current European champion, and Barcelona have won nine of the last 10 La Liga titles. The plan could see their broadcast income remain unchanged for between two and four years as smaller teams bridge some of the income gap, the people said.

Spanish clubs currently negotiate TV rights individually. Under its proposal, the league will sell the rights collectively and distribute the combined income, currently about 800 million euros.

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez said Sept. 8 that it’s not clear if that model is the best solution for La Liga. He added that the real issue was how to get more money for every team because the gulf with the English Premier League was “disproportionate.”

Premier League clubs last season pooled 1.56 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) of TV money, more than twice as much as Spanish teams. English champion Manchester City received 96.6 million pounds in television revenue last season, about 1.5 times what lowest-earning Cardiff got, according to the league website.

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