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Gerard Pique: “In five years, Barca and Madrid will not be able to compete in Europe

Kingdom Cup Finals Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

At the Sports Business Forum, former Barcelona player Gerard Pique expressed his concern over the future fate of Barcelona and Real Madrid, and that there needs to be ‘drastic changes’ in order for Spain’s ‘Big Two’ to keep up with the rest of Europe.

Pique said that the American sports model, where parity in tv money distribution, and a strict salary cap, is something UEFA could model.

“I like the American model better, it’s more attractive to watch than the European one,” Pique said. “But then you take it to the economic level and you realise that it is structured better for franchises. At the European level it is all in the hands of the players. Barca and Madrid will not be able to compete in the long run, this is obvious.

“In the United States, the money is distributed equally among the 30 franchises, they will structure it in a way in which the franchises are highly protected. And if they see that the business is not well structured, they go on strike and earn a little more of the pie. What’s happening in Europe? Each League is regulated differently. LaLiga has a very strict Fair Play and other leagues have another system. And then in Europe you have to compete against those teams.

“As there is no regulation regarding Fair Play, you are exposed to those clubs paying more through other means, and we are going to end up with Barca and Madrid not being able to compete. We are on a path so that in five years, Barca and Madrid will not be able to compete in Europe. Either it is regulated, or we are not competing with the same rules. And this is regulated in the United States.”

Pique also expressed that Barcelona and Real Madrid’s problem is the European level, not the domestic one.

“If you didn’t have a European competition to compete in and you only played the national competition, it wouldn’t matter,” Pique explained. “The moment you make the leap and all the clubs are not regulated by the same rules, that is when that imbalance occurs. Why are Barca and Madrid competing? Because they are getting into debt. They will be forced to become private companies, Madrid will take longer because they are in a better place. Unless there is a Super League or there is a European Financial Fair Play.”

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