Real Madrid and Athletic lose the lawsuit against LaLiga over the agreements with CVC | Economy

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Defeat of Real Madrid and Athletic Club in the trial against LaLiga for the agreements with CVC Capital Partners. The Court of First Instance number 15 of Madrid has dismissed the lawsuit filed by both clubs against the body chaired by Javier Tebas for the signing of a commercial operation with the fund to launch the so-called Liga Impulso Plan, sealed in December 2021. According to what it indicates According to the ruling, these agreements are based on a “strategic operation to improve the competitiveness of clubs and professional leagues and maximize the income derived from the commercialization of the audiovisual rights of their associates.”

Real Madrid and Athletic, together with Fútbol Club Barcelona – which later withdrew from the judicial process, as did the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) –, which voted against the agreements, went to court shortly after that the LaLiga assembly gave the green light, considering that the transaction was “illegal” and that it causes “irreparable damage to the entire Spanish football sector and flagrantly violates the most basic principles of Spanish sports law and the statutes of the league”.

In this pact, the fund, which Javier de Jaime directs in Spain, committed to injecting 1,929 million euros, of which 1,442 have already been paid. In exchange, CVC participates in an annual percentage, of up to 8.6%, of the audiovisual income generated by the competition. 38 of the 42 professional teams that were then part of the First and Second Division joined the plan.

The Court of First Instance number 15 of Madrid has dismissed the three causes of challenge raised by the rogue teams, understanding that the statutes of La Liga have not been violated in relation to the lack of information; that the royal decree-law that regulates the ownership regime of audiovisual rights was not violated in the general assembly; nor was the Sports Law violated by authorizing a restructuring of La Liga in violation of its statutes.

The resolution, dated February 19, indicates that the operation with CVC complies with the current legal and statutory frameworks. In this sense, the judge rules out the violation of the LaLiga statutes, while recognizing the autonomy of the sports organization to manage and administer its commercial and audiovisual rights, as long as it is carried out within the existing legal framework, and therefore, to sign agreements that they consider beneficial for the group. The ruling is not yet final, as it can be appealed to the Provincial Court of Madrid, and requires payment of the procedural costs to Athletic Club and Real Madrid.

Rules out the expropriation of rights

In this sense, the judge disagrees with the plaintiffs about the existence of an expropriation or misappropriation of the ownership of the commercial rights. “The ownership of the audiovisual rights does not prevent them (the clubs), but on the contrary, it empowers them to dispose of them by adopting the agreements that they consider within the legal limits,” says the ruling. “For that same reason and respecting the ownership, the clubs that decide not to participate in the operation will obtain exactly the same distributed net income that they would have received if the expenses and income linked to the operation did not exist, that is, the operation has no any impact on the audiovisual rights of the plaintiffs. The cost of the operation, the resolution clarifies, is only passed on to those who adhere,” she adds.

Regarding the level of knowledge about the operation, the ruling states that the “plaintiffs had at their disposal the necessary information to cast their vote”, since LaLiga offered the clubs to consult, at the organization's offices, additional documentation on the operation. agreement, as well as the possibility of holding explanatory meetings to clarify any questions that may arise. Likewise, the resolution establishes that the employer provided the professional teams with the contact information of those responsible who handled the legal, fiscal, business plan, participatory and business loans. In this way, the judge does not validate the allegation of the club chaired by Florentino Pérez and his ally in this matter that they only received presentations of a commercial or informative nature, a legal report on some of the contracts and a draft of the contract. financing.

Finally, on the governance position of CVC in La Liga upon establishing a company (LGI) in which the National Professional Football League (LNFC) and CVC are partners and the existence of a monitoring committee provided for in the accounts contract. participation, the judge emphasizes that the fund “does not occupy any position in the governing and administrative bodies of The League nor is it a member of the association.” That is, “the League maintains the majority of the share capital of LGI and the right to appoint the majority of the directors.”

Likewise, the ruling highlights that the monitoring committee regulated in the joint account contract cannot be understood as an “interference in governance prohibited by law or statute”, since it is precisely planned to study the decisions of La Liga and its consequence, and in any case, could only be a review of the agreed economic conditions. “It would not affect the rights of the plaintiffs,” he concludes.

In a statement, LaLiga has celebrated the ruling and has emphasized that the court has ratified “once again the legitimacy of the clubs' agreement with CVC, which has the support of 44 signatory clubs, and has allowed said clubs to project investments, without counting on public aid, which would otherwise have been unaffordable and which will accelerate the growth of the clubs in 20 years in terms of investment, infrastructure, internationalization and professionalization, among others.”

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