- Special Pages
A file photo taken in August of Real Madrid’s Argentinian forward Gonzalo Higuain (left) vying for the ball with Valencia’s French defender Jeremy Mathieu during the La Liga match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid.
MADRID: Sevilla President Jose Maria Del Nido has been the most vocal critic of the stranglehold the big clubs exert over TV rights income and his side can also make a point on the pitch when they host Real Madrid today.
The lack of a collective bargaining system in La Liga means Real and Barcelona account for about half the TV pot of 600 million euros ($773.31m).
That helps make them the world’s richest clubs by income, with annual earnings close to 500 million euros, and means they can afford to buy the best players and pay the highest wages.
Del Nido has called La Liga “a load of rubbish”, saying only the big two have a realistic chance of winning the title, and there is widespread support among other clubs for the introduction of a revenue sharing system like those used in rival European leagues.
However, Real and Barca have shown little sign they are prepared to cede to such demands as they look to protect their status as dominant powers.
Real, who dropped five points in their opening three games this season, have put 15 goals past Sevilla in their last three league meetings including a pair of crushing 6-2 victories in the Andalucian capital.
Under coach Michel, a former Real player, Sevilla are undefeated this term but in recent years have looked a shadow of the side that won consecutive UEFA Cups in 2006 and 2007 and are not even in European competition this season.
Del Nido issued a rallying call to Sevilla fans this week, urging them to get behind the players for the Real clash at the Sanchez Pizjuan (2000 GMT) while Michel said on Thursday it was a chance for the team to kickstart their campaign.
“I would give my contract if that is what it takes to get a win against Real Madrid and that turned into the start of a positive run,” Michel told Sevilla’s TV channel.
Barca, who visit Sevilla at the end of the month, have won their opening three matches and are two points clear at the top on nine points, five ahead of Real.
New coach Tito Vilanova will be without Andres Iniesta for Barca’s trip to Getafe (1800) today after the Spain playmaker returned from international duty with a muscle strain.
Barca have slipped up several times in recent years in their first game after an international break but Cesc Fabregas is confident it will not happen this time.
“You are away from home for 10 days and sometimes there are long journeys and then you have to get back into training again,” the Spain midfielder said. “I think we are in good shape and we are returning after a win (1-0 against Georgia in Tbilisi) which is always positive mentally.”
Also playing today, Malaga host Levante and Valencia are at home to Celta Vigo while in tomorrow ‘s action Athletic Bilbao visit Espanyol and Europa League winners Atletico Madrid take on Rayo Vallecano. REUTERS