WIGAN ATHLETIC manager Roberto Martinez has cautioned the Premier League against adopting a Spanish-style ‘go it alone’ approach to TV deals, claiming it has not worked in La Liga.
The comments of Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre, who wants to see England’s biggest clubs receive a larger slice of overseas TV revenues, have drawn a critical reaction from a host of clubs, including Latics chairman Dave Whelan, who labelled them scandalous.
Martinez, who given his Spanish roots keeps a close eye on what happens in his homeland, adopts a more measured stance, insisting the growing power of Real Madrid and Barcelona does not provide the best example for the Premier League to follow.
“The distribution of TV funds in Spain hasn’t worked,” Martinez said.
“Real Madrid and Barcelona are getting richer and the others are finding it harder, year by year, to compete.
“That is great for the two football clubs but no good for the league.”
Indeed, it seems the Spanish authorities are looking at ways of redressing the balance, more in line with the Premier League model, which involves the equitable distribution of overseas income among the 20 top-flight clubs.
“The good thing we have in our [English] league is the competitive edge,” said Martinez.
“That is there for a reason. We should realise why.
“The Spanish league is looking to copy some of the things in our league now.
“It would be strange for us to try to adopt ways to run our league that don’t work in other countries.”
Asked whether fans in Spain are starting to get bored by the dominance of Madrid and Barca, Martinez said: “Yes. They end up supporting Barcelona or Real Madrid.
“They don’t support their own teams because they are not competing.
“You end up splitting Spain into two football teams. The league suffers. That is a shame.”