A special report by our financial correspondent, Peregrine Percyfield.
Less than three weeks to go to the start of the season, and the lower divisions are in complete disarray as clubs struggle to meet the demanding requirements of the league (LFP) and federation (RFEF). Many sides have not been able to meet their financial obligations, and with just a day to go to the 31st July deadline the make-up of the second and regional divisions is still not clear.
So what's it all about? Stringent league rules require clubs to be up to date with payments to their players by the aforementioned deadline, and first and second division sides must also ensure a predetermined minimum share capital, with teams newly promoted to the second division given a year or so to get the funds together. Anybody failing to meet the requirements will be automatically dropped down a division.
In the past many clubs got around the player payments rule by putting themselves in to legal administration and then arguing that the courts would not allow them to pay the players, but a change in the law now takes that safety net away from them. Deportivo are the first victims of that change, and despite frantic meetings with players and their representatives, footballing authorities, courts, lawyers and legal administrators, time is running out. If they are relegated a second time to the regional divisions tomorrow though that may well mean the end, as the administrators have said that the club would not then be viable, and they would put it straight in to liquidation. Meanwhile Xerez, who finished bottom of the second division, have already given up the ghost, and they are trying to reform under another name, albeit that it is not yet clear which division they will play in.
The capital rule (almost unachievable in today's economic climate) is taking more toll as well, with Guadalajara already told they will be relegated to the regional third level after irregularities were detected in their capital increase. The relegated Murcia have been provisionally re-instated, but Guadalajara have appealed to the courts and the decision may well be overturned. In the last couple of days though it came to light that two more clubs, Alcorcón and Mirandés, are having serious difficulties meeting their capital requirements, the former now subject to a deciding audit, and the latter virtually accepting defeat and resigning themselves to the drop. That would mean Racing Santander (themselves with grave financial problems) and then Huesca could also be reinstated.
That's not all though, and the four regional second division groups have still not been drawn up some three weeks after the date set for doing so, partly due to the above, and partly due to the bankruptcy of Salamanca, the courts having sold their place to a newly set-up replacement club, but the RFEF not accepting the decision. Add to that the fact that Málaga and now Rayo Vallecano have appealed against their European bans, Málaga's claim kicked out but Rayo's appeal only being heard in Lausanne today just two days before their erstwhile replacements Sevilla kick off in the Europa League, and you have one of the biggest messes since La Liga began. A zero tolerance attitude is fine in theory, but with the country going through its worse economic crisis in living memory, now is maybe not the time to impose it. People's livelihoods are at stake! (30.07.13)