La Liga TV rights on hold due to Catalonia uncertainty

It has been a tumultuous few weeks in Catalonia following an independence referendum on October 1 that was deemed illegal by the Spanish government and was marred by violence.

It is unclear what would happen to Barcelona and other Catalan clubs if the northeastern region of Spain did declare independence.   -  AP

The Spanish league has delayed putting out to tender its international television rights amid uncertainty over what the Catalonia crisis could mean for Barcelona, La Liga president Javier Tebas said on Tuesday.

It has been a tumultuous few weeks in Catalonia following an independence referendum on October 1 that was deemed illegal by the Spanish government and was marred by violence.

Read: Camp Nou reopens amid political confusion in Catalonia

It is unclear what would happen to Barcelona and other Catalan clubs if the northeastern region of Spain did declare independence, and so the league's governing body has decided to delay opening up the bidding for television rights by two weeks.

"We have had to delay the tender process that we often do around these dates in order to wait and see what happens in Spain," Tebas said at the World Football Summit in Madrid.

"This is a problem that could greatly affect the value of our competitions."

The tendering process concerns the rights to broadcast La Liga matches in Europe and various Asian countries such as India and Singapore, Tebas said.

La Liga has raised the total income for domestic and international broadcast rights for the period from 2016 to 2019 to a reported 1.6 billion euros ($1.9 billion) a season.

But the value of those rights would drop significantly without the showpiece Clasicos between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Barcelona is one of the biggest clubs in the world and was the founding member of the Spanish league in 1928 but its status as a La Liga side could come under threat if Catalonia were to become an independent state.

The club, five-time European champion and 24-time Spanish champion, recently reaffirmed its desire to remain in La Liga while also defending the "right to decide" of Catalans.

"I think that La Liga and Barca must continue together," said club general director Oscar Grau last week.

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