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RFEF engaged in dispute over women’s football rights

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has become embroiled in a dispute with the Association of Women’s Football Clubs (ACFF) over the marketing of broadcast rights to Primera División de la Liga de Fútbol Femenino, the top tier of the women’s game in Spain.

The two bodies have exchanged strongly-worded statements after it emerged that the ACFF had issued a tender document concerning broadcast rights to the Primera División for the three seasons spanning 2019-20 to 2021-22.

The RFEF claims it is responsible for marketing the rights, while the ACFF is arguing that it is eligible to do so on behalf of the clubs. The RFEF has warned that “pertinent disciplinary proceedings” will be initiated against persons linked to sports organisations subject to the federation who have not complied with current legislation.

The ACFF, a body that gathers together 70 clubs, including 14 in the 16-team top tier, has argued that its members agreed earlier this month that it would market the rights on a collective basis, excluding FC Barcelona and Athletic Club.

The ACFF has also pointed to a ruling last summer from Spain’s competitions regulator, the CNMC, that the clubs could market their rights individually or collectively.

In a statement, the ACFF added: “Regardless of the aforementioned ownership and ability to commercialise their audiovisual rights by the clubs, it is also completely incoherent and unintelligible that they do not have any kind of decision-making or control over the organisation and management of the competition when instead they must assume responsibilities and obligations related to the growth and professionalisation of women’s football, such as those that are being negotiated at the women’s football collective agreement table.

“In this way, it is essential to modify the current regulatory framework to adapt and continue with the development and growth of women’s football in Spain.”