Real Madrid are considering taking legal action against LaLiga and CVC Capital Partners after the Spanish league agreed to sell 10% of its business to the investment fund for €2.7 billion, sources have told ESPN.
Barcelona are poring over the finer details of the deal with CVC, which LaLiga announced on Wednesday, sources have told ESPN, because they have doubts about voting it through at the general assembly on Aug. 12.
The league's executive committee have already unanimously approved the sale, but it must be ratified at the general assembly next week.
League sources said that despite the concerns some clubs have about the deal, they believe it will be voted through because only two-thirds of the 42 voting clubs in the top two tiers of Spanish football must be in favour.
Spanish news outlet El Independiente first reported on Thursday that Madrid were weighing up taking action for asset misappropriation. The report said that Madrid feel the sale "endangers" their business opportunities by allowing CVC to take make money from, for example, television rights without the club agreeing to the deal.
For their initial investment, CVC will pocket 11% of the money raised by LaLiga through the sale of television rights and sponsorship for the next 40 years.
El Independiente also added that Barca and a third club, Athletic Bilbao, were in opposition to the sale.
Madrid said in a statement on Thursday: "This agreement was reached without the involvement or knowledge of Real Madrid and today, for the first time, LaLiga has given us limited access to the terms of the agreement.
"The negotiation was carried out without competitive proceedings and the financial conditions agreed with CVC Capital Partners give them annual returns of over 20%. This opportunistic fund is the same which tried and failed to reach similar agreements with the Italian and German leagues.
"Real Madrid cannot support a venture which hands the future of 42 Primera and Segunda División clubs over to a group of investors, not to mention the futures of those clubs who qualify over the next 50 years.
"Real Madrid will convene the Assembly of Representative Members to debate the agreement and discuss the significant loss of equity, unprecedented in our 119-year history."
Sources at Madrid have told ESPN there's been no definitive decision yet but confirmed they are looking at what legal action is available to them.
They feel they have managed their finances well in the wake of the pandemic and that a quick cash fix now goes against their interests while benefitting other clubs. They also want a more exhaustive explanation to the clubs about the agreement and what it means long-term beyond the short-term injection of funds.
Barcelona said in a statement: "FC Barcelona considers that the operation that has been made public has not been sufficiently verified with the clubs [owners of the TV rights]; that its amount is not congruent with the years of duration and that part of the audiovisual rights of all the clubs are affected for the next 50 years.
"The Club considers the signing of a half-century contract inappropriate given the uncertainties that always surround the world of football.
"The conditions of the contract that LaLiga is talking about condemn the future of FC Barcelona in terms of audiovisual rights.
"FC Barcelona wants to show its surprise at an agreement promoted by Laliga in which it has not had the criteria of teams, like FC Barcelona itself, and does not even show options among more competitors to be able to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages in a scenario with many questions such as the post-pandemic."
The money raised from the sale will be distributed among the clubs in the form of a loan, repayable over a significant number of years. The payments will be based on the contributions the clubs have had since the centralisation of audiovisual rights in 2015, with Madrid allocated around €261 million and Barca €270m.
The clubs must spend at least 70% of the money on investments related to long-term growth, 15% on refinancing their debt, and 15% can be used to increase their league-imposed spending limits.
Barca would appear to be one of the clubs to gain the most from the agreement, as they have been badly hit by the pandemic financially. The investment would increase their league-imposed spending limit and could help to register Lionel Messi's new contract with the league.
However, sources at Barcelona say they are not so certain the deal will be "beneficial" for the club.
League sources say they don't understand Barca's doubts because, according to them, they have held various meetings with the Catalan club this summer and president Joan Laporta had been well briefed on LaLiga's intentions by the league's president, Javier Tebas.
Meanwhile, Athletic's opposition is down to the club's philosophy of not signing players from outside the Basque Country and Navarra. Therefore, they would not see the benefits that other clubs may reap because they're working in a much more limited market.