ASUNCION: A group of 15 leading South American football clubs have joined forces to establish a new organisation designed to enhance their position concerning the distribution of broadcast revenues by the South American football confederation CONMEBOL.
The South American League of Clubs has been formed following a meeting of teams from Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay in Montevideo. The clubs have demanded that Conmebol calls an extraordinary executive committee meeting so they can air their concerns.
In a statement, the clubs said they would ask for “an increase in the amount clubs receive for this edition of the Copa Libertadores and all international tournaments equivalent to the rise in the television contract signed between Conmebol and Fox Sports”.
United States investigators have inicated that significant sums which should have done to the clubs went, instead, to bribes to the presidents of many South American federations.
In November, international pay-television broadcaster Fox International Channels acquired rights for a series of tournaments operated by CONMEBOL. The rights will run for three years, from 2016 to 2018.
Under the deal, the Fox Sports channel will continue to broadcast live and exclusive coverage of the Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana and Recopa Sudamericana competitions in Latin America. Fox Sports will exploit the multi-platform rights on Fox Sports, Fox Sports 2 and digital platform Fox Play.
The clubs are currently set to receive an increase of 40 per cent of revenue from the rights to the Copa Libertadores that starts next month, while CONMEBOL should see an increase in excess of 250 per cent.
“This is not against anyone, it is simply in favour of more involvement in the television contracts,” Juan Pedro Damiani, president of Uruguayan club Peñarol, told the Reuters news agency. Damiani said more transparency was needed, as broadcast rights contracts were now kept secret from clubs.
The South American League of Clubs is set to formalise its organisational base within the next 60 days. It will also call for the end of the clause stipulating that clubs pay Conmebol 10 per cent of ticket revenue for regional tournaments played in their stadiums.
The clubs that created the league are Boca Juniors, Racing Club, River Plate and San Lorenzo in Argentina; Nacional, Peñarol and River Plate in Uruguay; Colo Colo, Universidad Católica and Universidad de Chile in Chile; Cerro Porteño and Olimpia in Paraguay; Liga Deportiva Universitaria in Ecuador; and Sporting Cristal y Club Melgar in Peru.
** Paraguayan Alejandro Dominguez has declared himself a candidate for the presidency of CONMEBOL. Current president Juan Angel Napout has denied FIFAGate corrution charges in the United States whose investigators are seeking the extradition of long-serving predecessor Nicolas Leoz.
Napout and Leoz are also Paraguayan.