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Madrid, Barca challenge LaLiga with €2bn plan

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao have written to fellow LaLiga clubs proposing a €2 billion investment plan, which they claim is a superior alternative to the league’s own deal with CVC Capital Partners.

The CVC deal — which has the support of the other 39 clubs in Spain’s first and second divisions — was initially approved in August despite the opposition of Madrid, Barca and Athletic, with a final vote due on Dec. 10.

The new proposal would involve JP Morgan, Bank of America and HSBC jointly lending clubs €2bn at a cost of between 2.5 and 3% interest over 25 years.

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That compares to a 50-year period for LaLiga’s CVC agreement, which would see the investment fund receive 11% of the league’s income from TV rights.

The clubs published details of their proposal on their websites on Friday, saying LaLiga’s plan “would damage the future of our football” and offering a “long-term, sustainable, rational and legal” alternative which they said, depending on how much the league’s income grows over time, would be between five and 193 times more economical.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas responded with a letter to clubs on Friday describing the proposal as “an attempt to break the consensus and generate uncertainty, with the only objective of safeguarding the selfish interests of a few against the common benefit of the majority.”

Madrid and Barcelona have been vocal critics of the CVC deal.

In a speech to club members last month, Madrid president Florentino Perez called it “a transaction that made no financial sense for the clubs, but was good for CVC and others involved” and offered to help seek an alternative.

“Can you imagine if [former club president] Santiago Bernabeu had decided to go ahead with a similar operation in 1975, which would still be in operation today? It seems absurd,” he said.

Speaking in August, Barca president Joan Laporta said the deal “would not be in Barca’s best interests” and was “too risky” even if it could have helped the club keep Lionel Messi.

LaLiga responded to the new proposal from the three clubs on Thursday night, saying the move was “intended to derail a project which puts their own individual objectives in danger.”

“The operation presented in this letter is based on an improvised proposal, elaborated without the minimum rigour required,” a league statement said.

LaLiga argued that the partnership with CVC is not simply a financial operation, but “a strategic project to guarantee growth in the medium and long term.”

The row over the CVC deal is the latest clash in a fractious relationship between Madrid and LaLiga, which has deteriorated further since the attempted launch of the Super League in April.

“It is surprising that the promoters of the Super League, which would have been lethal for national leagues, express concern for a project which the majority of LaLiga clubs have approved, and won’t affect them financially,” LaLiga said on Thursday.

The three clubs were excluded from the CVC deal in August, when last-minute changes were made to the plans ahead of voting to ensure they would receive no money and see no impact on their share of TV rights income.

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