Spain’s LFP set to welcome new president
13 Mar 2013
The Spanish Football League (LFP) is set to appoint a new president next month after Jose Luis Astiazaran confirmed he would not run for a third term in office.
Astiazaran, who formerly served as president of Real Sociedad, has led the LFP since being appointed as interim president in 2004. He subsequently won re-election in 2005 and 2009 and is expected to pass the baton on to vice-president Javier Tebas, who is now the only candidate for the top job at the League’s election on April 27. Astiazaran said his tenure has coincided with an increase in broadcast revenues paid to Primera Division clubs, the development of the marketing of Spanish football into new markets in Asia and improving relations with the players’ union (AFE).
“These have been years of huge intensity and relevance in the achievements realised by the LFP,” he said in a statement. “Many of the objectives to which I have committed myself, based on the mandate of the clubs, have been accomplished since I have assumed the presidency eight years ago. My stage, my cycle, has come to an end. The moment has arrived to leave the scene to another president at the LFP who, with the majority support necessary to manage this entity, which I am happy to have had throughout my time, can advance in all those matters dedicated to strengthen the future of professional football. A new president who can count on my entire support and with whom I will work together in order to ensure the transition in a spirit of cordiality, sincerity and normality for the benefit of our football.”
However, Astiazaran’s presidency has not been without its challenges. Spanish football continues to wrestle with the problems caused by its huge debt problems, while the inequalities caused by its current broadcast rights model, which sees FC Barcelona and Real Madrid account for around half of the Eur650 million in revenues paid each year, continues to create debate. One of the last acts of Astiazaran’s tenure saw the LFP in January reveal details of new rules designed to end clubs overspending on players, with the country’s Secretary of State for Sport Miguel Cardenal stating the regulations are a “profound cultural shift” for the Spanish game. The rules will take effect from July 1 and have been drawn up by the LFP and the Spanish Sports Council (CSD). They include powers to limit the total cost of a club’s squad and to refuse to register players if they are deemed too expensive. A study published in April 2012 by Jose Maria Gay, professor of accounting at the University of Barcelona, showed the 20 clubs in the Primera Division had combined debts of some Eur3.53 billion at the end of last season, up from Eur3.43 billion a year earlier. The Primera Division was also the victim of a damaging player strike in 2011-12, which delayed the start of that season by a week.