Chad Riad, Isco and Bartra pose during their presentation as new Betis players. Jose Manuel Vidal (EFE)
“I want to have fun again,” admitted Isco in his massive presentation as a new Betis player. The desire of the winner of five Champions collides, however, with the harsh reality of his team. The Andalusian team, which has exceeded its salary limit (set at 100.6 million) by just under 30 million, has not yet been able to register its most relevant signing. Nor to Bartra, Bellerín, Marc Roca and Ayoze, his other reinforcements. The League starts tomorrow and the Verdiblancos make their debut on Sunday in Vila-Real. It is evident that Betis has a problem. But he’s not the only one.
The conditions to comply with financial fair play imposed by LaLiga since 2009 are noticeable every summer, especially in the two seasons that have been played since the coronavirus epidemic, which wreaked havoc on the clubs’ economy. To the problems of the teams with the salary gap in their templates is added the speed because the show starts without all the actors being there. Many clubs believe that it is nonsense that three days are played with the market still open. “You have to reflect on what is going to happen to 70% of the LaLiga teams on this first day. At the close of the market everything fits, but these first days the rule means that the clubs cannot register all the players ”, indicated Víctor Orta, Sevilla’s sports director, last Tuesday. “It is not too positive to start the competition with three days open to the market,” added Ramón Planes, Betis’s top sports manager.
The clubs cannot register new players in their squads as they are unable to release the players they do not have. And the operations take shape as the market close approaches, on September 1. With very expensive squads and too many players in them, the perfect storm looms over the teams, especially with those like Barcelona or Betis, who have not known how to do their homework for two seasons and bet on income that in the end they did not arrive.
Barcelona, which last year disbursed 158 million in transfers, was saved by the famous levers last season while this aspired to reduce the wage bill by 180 million. For this reason, he has only spent 3.4 million on the transfer of Oriol Romeu and yesterday he closed the transfer of Kessié to Al-Ahly for 12.5 million. At Betis, which has proposed a capital increase to its shareholders to achieve 45 million euros this summer, it earned him in 2022 with a loan from LaLiga of close to seven million guaranteed by its managers.
A year later, the problems are reproduced. According to the data offered by the official LaLiga portal, there have been 90 transfers so far in the Spanish competition. This section includes transfers, players who arrive as free agents and on loan.
With the templates still half done, yesterday afternoon almost half of the incorporations (around 40%) had not yet been registered in the week that the competition begins. They are joined by problems with renovations. An operation that computes in the salary mass of the teams. This is the case, for example, of Araújo, Marcos Alonso and Sergi Roberto, who have not yet been able to be registered by Barcelona.
Alavés, the Catalan team itself and Betis are the three teams that are having the worst time with the issue of registrations. They are working to process the licenses of new players, but one day after the start of the league, Alavés only had 12 registered players (they play next Monday), for another 12 from Barcelona and 17 from Betis. Regarding the signings made, only Celta, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia and Rayo have registered all the signings. The case of Sevilla was curious. After admitting that he would have problems formalizing the 25 tokens of the first team for today’s clash against Valencia at Pizjuán (22:00, Movistar), he registered all the signings for this season in one go: Badé, Sow, Gattoni and Pedrosa. For this first day, managers and coaches talk to agree on a priority in the registration of their players given the impossibility of all being available.
“We understand that financial fair play is good and makes clubs more sustainable. When you’re not over the salary cap, things work well, but when you’ve gone overboard, like we did, things are tough. These are the rules of the game and you have to adapt, ”said Ángel Haro, president of Betis, yesterday at the presentation of Bartra, Isco and Riad as new players on his team.
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