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LaLiga Impulso project gets green light amid Real Madrid, Barcelona opposition

LaLiga’s General Assembly has formally ratified a strategic venture with global investment fund CVC Capital Partners that is set to provide finance with a heavy emphasis for Spanish football clubs to improve their stadium infrastructure.

The LaLiga Impulso project has become a major talking point in Spanish football in recent months, with heavyweights Real Madrid and FC Barcelona having opted out of the venture. LaLiga’s member clubs in August initially approved the project for CVC to invest in a new holding company with a focus on commercial ventures, with proceeds designed to allow teams to invest in infrastructure work.

LaLiga Impulso was first unveiled on August 4 and will see LaLiga, the governing body of the top two divisions of Spanish club football, give up 10.95% of revenue from its broadcast rights over the next 50 years in exchange for CVC investing in the organisation.

In total, 37 of LaLiga’s 42 clubs voted in favour of the project on Friday, which represents a total investment of €1.994bn (£1.7bn/$2.25bn) for both sporting and business growth initiatives. The project carves out the clubs that chose not to participate.

While Real and Barcelona have been joined in their continued opposition to the project by Athletic Bilbao, Spanish sports business website 2Playbook reports that Friday’s vote also saw Segunda Division club UD Ibiza vote against the venture, while Real Oviedo abstained.

For the rest, this injection of nearly €2bn commits the clubs to allocating up to 70% of the funds to investments linked to infrastructure, international development, brand and product development, communications strategy, innovation and technology, and a content development plan for digital platforms and social media. Up to 15% can be used to sign players, with the remaining 15% for reducing debt.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas said: “This is a new milestone in the history of LaLiga and its clubs. We’re proud to have reached this agreement with CVC, which will allow us to continue our transformation towards a global digital entertainment company, improving the competition and enhancing the fan experience.”

Tebas added: “We’ve been able to get this project off the ground. I am confident it will be a watershed positive moment for these 37 clubs. It will mean they will be able to improve their infrastructures for fans to enjoy, develop their international brand and collectively take giant steps to continue improving this league’s stature around the world.”

Real, Barcelona and Athletic have yet to officially comment following Friday’s vote having issued a series of joint statements in recent weeks. Indeed, ahead of the vote, the three clubs had warned that the CVC-backed project was “flagrantly illegal and… seriously harms the interests of Spanish football at large”.

Earlier in the week, multiple reports stated that Real, Barcelona and Athletic had put forward an alternative proposal of JPMorgan, Bank of America and HSBC jointly lending €2bn in exchange for a fixed annual payment of €115m over 25 years.