LaLiga, the organising body of the top two divisions of Spanish club football, has secured a €67m (£61.5m/$81.2m) loan that will be distributed to 11 clubs to aid their financial situation during COVID-19.
In what it claims is one of the first major loans to a top European league, LaLiga has selected UK financial services company Rights & Media Funding Limited to lend the funds under identical five-year terms.
LaLiga worked with independent financial services provider JB Capital and Perez Llorca, a Spanish law firm, to invite lenders to participate in negotiations to deliver funding to strengthen the liquidity of clubs in the second tier Segunda División, as well as those promoted to LaLiga for the 2020-21 season.
The identity of the clubs involved was not revealed, but Spanish news agency EFE said those receiving aid will be nine Segunda División teams and two LaLiga outfits. SD Huesca, Cádiz and Elche won promotion to the top tier last season. LaLiga reportedly received applications from between 15 and 20 investment funds and international banks, including those based in the US, UK and Germany.
Spanish football has mainly operated behind closed doors during the pandemic. LaLiga returned to action on June 11 with matches behind closed doors and it is unclear when fans will be able to attend games.
LaLiga said the loan project was launched to provide clubs with a tool to help them manage their financial needs in the context of the exceptional circumstances caused by COVID-19. LaLiga has facilitated the access of interested clubs to what it states is an innovative financing tool that will make it possible to meet the liquidity needs of participating teams, optimise their financial conditions and strengthen their capital structure.
For the 11 clubs involved it is the first time they have jointly entered the financing market, while the venture is the first instance clubs of their stature have been able to secure financial terms of this kind, particularly with regard to the five-year agreement.
“Securing this type of loan is clear evidence of the financial stability and confidence in the future of Spanish clubs and LaLiga,” said Jose Guerra, LaLiga general managing director. “This transaction opens a door to a new financing channel in which clubs can enter the market in a coordinated manner, obtaining a more solid structure and therefore more attractive financing conditions.”
Rights & Media Funding, a well-known and respected lender to LaLiga clubs, has been selected as the sole lender. The financing structure is based on the monetisation of the media rights marketed by LaLiga and has a duration beyond the current domestic rights contract.