Bizarre spectacle in Spain. While Real Madrid and Barcelona announced this week that they would be paying more than 100 million euro for two new players (Toni Kroos and Luis Suarez respectively), the Spanish trade union for professional footballers, AFE, announced that no less than 194 players in the Primera División and Segunda División A are owed salary arrears from the previous season (2013-14) of nearly 23 million euro.
On Wednesday, AFE submitted the file containing a summary of all the debts owed to the players by clubs in the Spanish Professional league LFP. Last season, the 194 footballers were under contract to 18 clubs in the two highest Spanish professional football leagues. They should have received their money no later than 1 July 2014.
The AFE-LPF Mixed Commission will settle all claims, assessing the amounts that will have to be paid in applicable cases by the various clubs / public limited sports companies (SADs) that have been complained against for non-payment.
Once the amount of each claim has been decided, the clubs / SADs will have until midnight (24.00 hours) on 31 July 2014 to make their payment. If they fail to do so, the penalties specified in Article 192.3 of the General Regulations of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) will be applied.
This implies that clubs that do not meet the requirements of the Spanish profession league, could be banished from its competition and thus relegated to the Segunda División B, the third professional level in Spain.
The size of this default is even more staggering when you consider that, during last season, the players' salaries dropped by 20 percent compared to those in the 2012-13 season. Conversely, the number of players who have contacted AFE has risen by 20 percent, from 160 in 2013 to 194 this year.
For AFE all this is convincing proof of the incompetence of the managers of the clubs concerned. According to the players trade union, the total salary costs make up just 28% of the total budget.
Said AFE in its statement: "We wish to emphasize that the increase in the amounts claimed at the end of this season is owing to a lack of effectiveness in the measures adopted in the present economic control, which has the sole objective of controlling football players' salaries and not the rest of the sums that represent approximately 70% of total income."
AFE, once again, argues in favour of a necessary change to the structure of Spanish professional football. "The size of the default that Spanish players are suffering not only continues at the same level, but increases slightly. This proves once again the need for an urgent amendment to the current management model of Spanish professional football, which AFE has been asking for constantly and repeatedly. This model is obsolete compared to the modern and participatory systems of the big European leagues today."
- Published: 17 July 2014