Clubs body warns RFEF over distribution of Copa de la Reina rights

Spain’s Association of Women’s Soccer Clubs (ACFF) has heavily criticised the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) after it was alleged that the governing body had sold the rights to the Copa de la Reina’s round-of-16 stage without the clubs’ permission.

The ACFF, which represents 12 of the 16 teams in the top-tier Primera Iberdrola, said that it is the “only and legitimate holder of the audio-visual [Copa de la Reina] rights, so any retransmission should be authorised by both disputing clubs”.

It has claimed that the RFEF has no right to sell those rights and that the letter it received from the federation did not disclose any information about the conditions or the names of the rights buyer.

It has since emerged that a number of regional Spanish broadcasters have acquired the rights, as reported by Palco23.

These include Real Madrid TV (exclusive rights to CD Tacón-Rayo Vallecano), TV3 (exclusive rights to RCD Espanyol-CDEF Logroño and non-exclusive rights to Sporting de Huelva-FC Barcelona) and TVE (exclusive rights to Athletic Club-UDG Tenerife and non-exclusive rights to Sporting de Huelva-Barcelona).

Broadcasters also include Canal Sur (exclusive rights to Sevilla FC-Levante UD and non-exclusive rights to Sporting de Huelva-FC Barcelona), ETB (exclusive rights to Real Sociedad-Madrid CFF) and TVG (exclusive rights to Deportivo Abanca-Valencia FCF). Rights to Real Betis against Atlético de Madrid have been secured by TVE and Canal Sur.

The ownership of broadcast rights to women’s football in Spain has been a live issue all season.

Mediapro agreed a collective rights agreement with 12 Primera Iberdrola clubs earlier this year during the league’s inaugural rights tender. That deal is worth €3m ($3.3m) per season between 2019-20 and 2021-22, but does not include the rights to Barcelona, Athletic Club (Bilbao), Sevilla or Tacón’s home matches.

The season has also been blighted by threats of strike action after the players were dissatisfied with the size of minimum wage increases.

Mediapro and the RFEF offered both made financial proposals to the clubs in attempts to break the deadlock.