Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Steaming Vat of Gossip & Some Grim Reading

Another Prick In The Wall loves when controversies hit center stage in La Liga. The blog felt that in all the hoolah-hoo of the transfer rumors, it has been neglecting the colorful controversies which give La Liga its distinct characteristic: Morbo. In this post, the blog has sought to report some juicy nuggets of the choicest gossip so that you can enjoy the kind of fervor for the most ridiculous and the most weird, which only the off-season can bring.

Fuel The Fire
First up, the big one: The season hasn’t even begun and the big two are already at each other’s throats. Barcelona’s Floppy wannabe president, Sandrito was quoted only few weeks back expressing surprise at the lack of recognition for Barca in spite of all their heroics on footballing’s biggest stage. May be someone needs to tell the guys at Barcelona that waxing on and on about your greatness doesn’t give anybody else room to express their own thoughts regarding the matter. Anyway, Rossel followed that intelligent comment up with a lengthy presser last week where he talked about the greatness of Barcelona and their values, namely dignity and honor, and about how Barcelona is a reference to everyone, especially children. And just when the blog thought that this was yet another piece of self-important tripe which the Barca PR department dishes out with unfailing regularity, Rossel delivered a bomb. “A media report fuelled by Real Madrid wanted to justify our team’s extraordinary sporting performances with pathetic accusations”, boomed Rossel in reference to the doping allegations, before continuing, “This season a Real Madrid employee, its coach, went beyond all the limits of necessary sporting rivalry. Surprisingly, RM’s response to our legitimate right to defend our honor was a formal complaint against eight of our players. Real Madrid did not get their way, as UEFA twice rejected their accusations. Rivalry will continue next season but we can't allow the limits of fair play to be passed again”. The blog had followed this outburst keenly, nodding its head, until Rossel reached a point where he talked about ending the “institutional relations” between the two clubs and then expressed his hope that the “President of Real Madrid will look upon this as an opportunity to revive our relations”.
 Right about this time, the blog was in splits. Wanting Florentino Perez to try to revive the relations between the two clubs is like wanting Busquets to admit to “Mono Mono” and not “Mucho Morro” in the blog’s opinion and in a move which is becoming far too common and low for a club which has forever sought to paint their shady history white, Real Madrid bounced back with an official announcement. The contents of the announcement were too tedious for the blog to keep up in spite of a double shot of espresso, but the gist of it was that Floppy flicked the birdy to Rossel in a very sarcastic announcement. Targeting Rossel’s declarations about values like dignity and honor, and of Barcelona being a reference to children, the announcement said, “Real Madrid C. F. reiterates its commitment to sportsmanship and the values inherent in football, especially those regarding fair play and the unequivocal battle against racism. The club regards these as essential elements in a sport that set a valuable example for children around world.”

Just as this ugly confrontation was about to bow its head, with unerring impeccability in timing, UEFA has announced that Barcelona will be allowed to sport logos of both, Qatar Foundation and UNICEF, on their jerseys, giving the Madrid based media yet another chance to scream conspiracy or re-quoting The Special One saying “I don’t know if it’s their association with UNICEF or…” or simply “Por Que?” However, the blog wants to point out that UNICEF isn’t a sponsor for Barcelona. Yes, they consume whatever they get via goodwill marketing as Mourinho helpfully pointed out at the close of last season, but the fact is Barcelona pay UNICEF 1.5 million Euros per year and that is why they are allowed to wear the brand on their jerseys. One person in Catalunya who’s clearly not happy with the current developments is Barca’s ex-president and current leader of the Catalan movement, Joan Laporta. There were reports early last week which seemed to suggest that Puyol, Messi, Iniesta and possibly Cesc as well as Eto’o would probably have to testify against Laporta in the trial of an unnamed player’s agent who has claimed that Laporta received cutbacks for the trips the club’s players made to Uzbekistan. Laporta has gone on record saying that he’s unconcerned about the smear campaign run by his once dear friend Sandrito. The firebrand ex-president then proceeded to express his regret at the Qatar Foundation deal, which in his opinion, is nothing more than a travesty as the Barcelona jersey was never associated with a sponsor…until Rossel walked in. What the blog feels he should’ve pointed out is that, it is because of his lavish spending in the VIP box, various cutbacks and poor deals that the club isn’t doing too great financially and hence have had to seek out jersey sponsors. Talking about Barcelona’s finances, the club’s financial bigwig Javier Faus has declared that bonuses awarded to players for their Champions League win exceeds the earnings from winning the Champions League by 4 million euros. That coupled with the little story that AS ran a few weeks back totaling Guardiola’s summer expenditure in the last two seasons to over 277 million Euros leaves the blog under no surprise that the club is in red. Talking about being in red, Messi has been left red faced after a story ran in Argentine newspaper Libre, that he spent the night at his apartment in a sex cum alcohol party with team mates Milito and Martin Palermo…and some of Argentina’s top models, TV presenters and sex party hosts. Prominent TV presenter and “host” Xoana Gonzalez was reportedly present at this party and had a “good time” with “Little Leo” as per reports. Messi’s all grown up by the look of things, but as per the blog’s reckoning, taking growth hormones disappoint. In other areas, he might well be…err…Little Leo.

The capital club isn’t free from its fair share of gossips either. Word has it that Real Madrid have approached Jean Luis Dupont, the lawyer who contested the famous Bosman Ruling in 1985, in the defence of Jose Mourinho against the five match ban imposed on him by the (supposedly) Barcelona rag tagging UEFA. As per reports, Madrid is ready to fight tooth and nail against this (supposedly) unholy alliance between Barcelona and UEFA with Dupont having to defend the club’s foul mouthed gaffer at all levels, if the need arises, even at the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS). Marca reports that Benfica have taken offense to Fabio Coentrao’s public flirting with Real Madrid and has decided to fine the player who’s contracted to the club till 2016. Further on, Benfica has reportedly decided to complain against Real Madrid to FIFA for “tapping up” Coentrao. While the capital club’s officials have been public in expressing their desire for Coentrao, the blog feels that Benfica is merely calling Real Madrid’s bluff given the fact that most of Benfica’s team is composed of rejects from the Spanish big two and the real stars for the club are almost always poached by Madrid, with handsome compensation of course.

La Liga Consursal
In a chilling revelation, famed professor of finance, Jose Maria Gay (University of Barcelona) has published a study of the state the Spanish league is in financially. As per Gay, at the end of the 2009-11 season, Sporting Gijon, Malaga CF, Real Zaragoza, Levante UD, Real Sociedad, RCD Mallorca and Hercules had been declared insolvent. Malaga has since then, been taken over by Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani and do not have to worry about insolvency. Sporting Gijon, as per their latest audits have posted a profit of 2 million Euros which is commendable given the puny stature of Gijon. Meanwhile, local businessman, Eduardo Jarque, has come forward with a proposition, acting as a mediary with funding coming from "English money", to buy Levante for 70 million euros and eliminate the 68 million euros in debt that saddles the club. Whether this proposal is accepted remains to be seen. The club has every reason to be cautious given their dire financial state, not to mention the scary precedent set by Racing’s MIA owner Ahsan Ali Syed. Racing has asked the regional government in Cantabria and their previous ownership group to step in if current head Ahsan Aly-Syed of WGA does not meet his financial commitments (13.5 million euros owed to players and a tax debt of 9 milllion euros). The government of Cantabria activated a bank guarantee after Ali Syed missed an installment last month as per reports. However Ali Syed said there was “no default” because the government received his payment via an escrow account. Santander’s Mayor Inigo de la Serna has said it appeared the regional government had been “politically negligent” by not checking Ali Syed’s finances before the sale. The regional administration has said that its contract with Ali Syed allows it to cancel his acquisition of Racing if he fails to meet further installments.

Real Zaragoza is the classic case of a heavily bankrupt Spanish club. The club has announced a stellar debt of 110 million Euros owing to the many sources they owe money to viz. 5 million to current players, 9 million to former players, 30 million in transfer fees and 1.5 million to the league. The current management has blamed relegation two seasons ago for the current state of the club. No one talked about mismanagement. Coming to the three clubs that have been promoted; Betis, Rayo Vallecano and Granada are all in various stages of administration. The current list of clubs in administration is: Real Zaragoza, Rayo Vallecano, Hercules CF, Real Betis, Cadiz, Ejido, Granada, RCD Mallorca, Recreativo Huelva, Xerez & Cordoba CF. The clubs that have only recently come out of administration is this: Sporting Gijon, Albacete, Levante UD, Las Palmas, Malaga CF, Deportivo Alaves, Celta, Real Sociedad, Real Murica & Alicante. This really puts the league in a new perspective. It is a league where the first, second and third players from the Balon D’Or list play, it is a league where seven out of the top ten players in the world play. But it is also a league with the largest number of clubs declared insolvent and undergoing administration. The farts leading the FA are not too bothered and the whimsy television rights deal is still paper talk. There are rumors that there might possibly be a strike action in the coming weeks. The old farts at the Spanish FA have declared that they will come down hard on clubs which do not pay their players. Also, players who are owed money from clubs in administration are set to get only 50% of what they are owed. With such a grim situation all round, even if the words of the Spanish FA are merely to placate fans and players, the clubs might possibly take it more seriously and put pressure on the FA to do something about this almighty mess. Only Real Madrid, Barcelona and the noveau rich like Malaga & Getafe have reason to cheer. Meanwhile, clubs like Levante UD have taken to displaying clickable advertisements on their official website in a bid to earn more money. In case you didn’t know, the amount earned by an entity per ad click is on an average 0.5 cents. This is a sorry state of affairs indeed, and the blog is appalled as it writes this.

In other news, the Atletico Madrid management board is set to vote tonight on whether Cerezo & Miguel Angel Gil should continue with management of club. This is kind of a no brainer as far as the blog is concerned given the fact that the board of seven has three members belonging to the Gil family. So in all probability, nothing is ever going to happen at Atletico until the damn board itself is taken down. To end on a positive note, La Liga’s new romantics, Malaga, have been able to sell 14000 season tickets the day their counters opened and have been besieged with requests from 600 new applicants. This was on the back of the news that owner Al Thani secured the contract to renovate the Marabella, a place which holds something special in the heart of most Andalucians.


Another Prick In The Wall said...

Thanks for the compliments. Will keep that in mind. The blog doesn't have any alliance with UEFA or carries the UNICEF logo, so it has to manage the contents on its own.

Vj said...

Hey don't beat yourself up , its better than carrying around a UNICEF 'tramp stamp' from now onwards..

Vj said...

Well that didn't come off right. It should've read 'insert maniche joke here' and it got parsed. :|

Anyway props for the awesomely researched article. 

Another Prick In The Wall said...

Haha Maniche jokes are legendary!

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails