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On January 12, 2018, Royal Decree 2/2018 was approved, under which professional football entities and clubs participating in La Liga (the top professional association football division of the Spanish football league system) must meet financial obligations proportionate to the income earned from selling audiovisual rights.

All entities and clubs must do the following:

  • give to La Liga 3.5% of the income they earn from selling audiovisual rights, with the aim of establishing a compensation fund for the football clubs that drop a category;
  • give to the Royal Spanish Football Federation 1% of that income, as a contribution to the development of amateur football;
  • give to the Higher Sports Council up to 1% of that income, to contribute to the social protection of high-level athletes and to the participation of athletes in international competitions; and
  • give to the Higher Sports Council 0.5% of that income, to contribute to the social protection of women’s and amateur football, as well as to the football world’s association movement.

 

In relation to these obligations, from a labor and social security perspective, we must highlight those obligations aimed at (i) guaranteeing the social protection of high-level athletes, (ii) protecting professional players in women’s and amateur football, and (iii) contributing to and promoting the association movement in the world of football.

Regarding the social protection of high-level athletes, under the new Royal Decree, the Higher Sports Council must use the clubs’ contributions arising from selling audiovisual rights to pay for all or part of the Social Security payment that high-level athletes must make, whether under (i) the General Regime if they have an athlete’s special employment relationship, or (ii) the Special Regime for Self-Employed Workers if they carry out their activity as self-employed or have signed a special agreement for high-level athletes.

Anyone classified as a high-level athlete will be able to access this social protection without prejudice to the exclusion of high-level athletes carrying out their activity in teams registered with the Spanish Professional Football League, in its dependent or affiliated teams, as well as those whose income relating to their sporting activity exceeds the amount established yearly by the Higher Sports Council.

Regarding contributions to the social protection of women’s and amateur football, the Higher Sports Council will use the aid obtained from selling audiovisual rights to finance the payment of company and worker installments to the Social Security for those athletes and technicians employed by entities participating in the First Division of Women’s Football and in the Second Division B of La Liga. The aid will be given on a preferential basis, first to the participants of the First Division of Women’s Football and, once that has been taken care of, to the athletes and technicians of the Second Division B.

Lastly, regarding promoting the association movement, the amounts not used to protect women’s and amateur football can be used to grant subsidies to associations or unions of athletes, referees, coaches and trainers in the football world that meet minimum implementation and representation criteria in each group. To sum up, these measures are aimed at increasing the social protection of high-level athletes in Spain, particularly when their sports careers end, and supporting and promoting women’s and amateur football, without forgetting the role of the different associations in the world of football.

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jaime.pavia@cuatrecasas.com

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