Spanish football bodies unite on Covid-19 plan and 2030 World Cup bid

Image: CSD

Spain’s National Sports Council (CSD) has brought together LaLiga and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to form a pathway to return the domestic game amid Covid-19, with funding agreements reached and a pledge made for the government to throw its full support behind a proposed joint bid with Portugal for the 2030 Fifa World Cup.

The developments come following a meeting between the three organisations. In a statement, the CSD said the return of professional football training will be subject to the “evolution” of the pandemic and decisions adopted by the Ministry of Health.

It added: “Therefore, it will occur as long as sanitary circumstances allow it and under strict health protocols.”

Earlier in April, LaLiga president Javier Tebas insisted that the top tier of Spanish football will finish its 2019-20 season this summer. LaLiga and the RFEF announced last month that the suspension of the professional game in the country would continue on an indefinite basis due to the pandemic.

LaLiga and the RFEF, and their respective presidents, Tebas and Luis Rubiales, have been at loggerheads over multiple issues in recent months, but held a meeting that lasted more than eight hours with CSD president, Irene Lozano.

The CSD said the meeting resulted in a pledge from LaLiga and the RFEF to dedicate part of the revenues generated by football’s broadcast rights to a rescue fund for other sports bodies in Spain. The exact nature of this fund was not detailed, but LaLiga already allocates one per cent of its revenue from broadcast rights to the RFEF to support amateur football, and a further 1.5 per cent to the CSD.

In addition, the CSD said Tebas and Rubiales signed a commitment to create a contingency fund of €10m ($10.8m), to which other entities such as the players’ union (AFE) will be invited to participate. This funding will be directed to help the most vulnerable athletes in the country.

The CSD said all parties have also agreed to work together, and in a coordinated manner abroad, to enhance Spain’s reputation as a host for sports events. The CSD added: “In this context, the Iberian candidacy for the 2030 World Cup takes on special importance, an event to which the government will lend its full support, understanding that football is essential for the possibilities of our country.”

In June 2019, the RFEF and Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) confirmed that a process is underway to potentially launch a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup. In a joint statement, the federations said that after several meetings they had elected to conduct an in-depth analysis of a bid for the national team tournament.