Barcelona, Real Madrid say CVC investment in LaLiga is illegal

FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - Real Madrid Preview - Valdebebas, Madrid, Spain - 24/5/16 Real Madrid's logo is seen at the entrance of the residence of first soccer team. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona and Real Madrid threatened new legal action should a plan by the country's top soccer league to accept a cash injection from private equity fund CVC move forward, saying on Tuesday it was both illegal and too costly.

Spain's two largest soccer clubs together with Athletic Bilbao - which are all owned by their members instead of by corporates - accused LaLiga's administrator of exceeding the organisation's legal authority and acting coercively.

"The clubs are sovereign members of LaLiga, not prisoners of its managers," they said in an open letter.

"All these issues are so serious that they oblige the clubs to take the necessary legal steps to protect their legitimate interests," they added, after listing several aspects of the CVC arrangement, such as those related to the clubs' audiovisual rights, they said were illegal.

The three clubs took legal action in September to challenge LaLiga's CVC deal.

The deal is, however, due to receive final approval on Dec. 10 and has been backed by 38 of the 42 clubs comprising LaLiga in a first round of voting. It would see the fund receive 11% of the league's television rights over the next 50 years in exchange for a one-off payment of 2.7 billion euros ($3.04 billion).

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bilbao reject the deal and have advanced an alternative proposal which would see JPMorgan, Bank of America and HSBC jointly lend 2 billion euros in exchange for a fixed annual payment of 115 million euros for 25 years, a document seen by Reuters last week showed.

The three say their proposal would cost Spanish clubs around 900 million euros and clubs would retain control of their audiovisual rights. They say the CVC deal would have a price tag of 13.1 billion euros.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas has strongly criticised the alternative proposal.

($1 = 0.8896 euros)

(Reporting by Joan Faus, editing by Aislinn Laing and Ed Osmond)

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