Proposals to take the current LaLiga table standings as final and use them to decide European qualification for next season has sent shockwaves through the Spanish game with Getafe furious at what they see as a misreading of the league rules, and Atletico Madrid and Valencia potentially fearing huge losses.
On Thursday, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) made public their plans in the event of the season in Spain not being finished.
Getafe would be the biggest losers because they currently lie fifth, one place outside the Champions League spots.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid face a huge financial loss if the Spanish season finishes early
Those plans also deliver a major blow to Getafe’s hopes of reaching the Champions League
Their president Angel Torres has already vented his anger over what he believes to be a failure to understand the rules on behalf of RFEF.
He said: ‘The federation has rushed in, or ignored the rules. We are level on 46 points with Real Sociedad and also level on goal difference (+12).
‘But the rules say that when the season ends it is head-to-head goal difference between the teams that counts and we won away at Real Sociedad.
‘The current table places Real Sociedad fourth because they have scored more goals, but the rules say what counts at the end of the season is head-to-head goal difference between the two teams.’
Getafe are one of Spain’s smallest top flight clubs. The other two sides who will suffer most if the RFEF plan has to be activated are two of the biggest institutions in the Spanish game, Atletico Madrid and Valencia.
They would potentially face huge financial losses were the proposal to become a reality and there are fears both would be forced into sales of top players potentially leaving Spain as a consequence.
As things stand Barcelona, Real Madrid, Sevilla and Real Sociedad would represent Spain in the Champions League next season.
Atletico Madrid lie sixth. They are already on course to fall short of their projected €500million (£435m) revenue for this season and missing out on qualification to football’s most lucrative competition would be another massive blow.
Players such as midfielder Thomas Partey, who has a €50m (£43.5m) buy-out clause, is within the range of many top European clubs and would be one of those more likely to leave.
Real Sociedad are fourth, Getafe are fifth but they are level on points and goal difference
Thomas Partey could leave Atletico if they need to raise funds in the next transfer window
RFEF has also proposed that the two Spanish Cup finalists Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao will join Atletico and Getafe in the Europa League and that will have a huge bearing on Valencia’s fate, leaving them out of European competition despite lying seventh.
Valencia, much like Getafe, believe the Spanish Federation has misinterpreted the rules because UEFA regulations state that only the winners of the national cup qualifies for Europe, not both finalists at the expense of the team finishing seventh.
Valencia and Getafe will both contest RFEF’s plan if the season in Spain cannot be resumed.
Getafe president Torres added: ‘I am in favour of the fact that the positions in the classification must be earned on the pitch, but it must also be understood that this is an abnormal situation.
‘You could play a game between us [Getafe and Real Sociedad] if an agreement were reached.
‘What cannot be allowed to happen is that this is released now, there was no need. I would like to know what criteria has been followed.’
Atletico are sixth in LaLiga but had a growing sense of momentum when the season was halted
Spanish League president Javier Tebas will back the likes of Getafe if it goes to a legal battle
If a legal battle ensues Valencia and Getafe have LaLiga on their side.
The Spanish League president Javier Tebas said: ‘It is not the responsibility of the Federation to carry out these proposals, which could directly affect the competitiveness and integrity of the competition.’
Valencia have recently announced a major setback to their plans to sell their Mestalla stadium for redevelopment.
The club had announced a deal for €113m (£98.3m) last year, but ADU Mediterraneo were unable meet the conditions required by the agreement and their exclusive rights on the land has expired.
The club desperately need to sell their existing stadium to complete construction of their new ground which currently stands half finished.
Atletico are ahead of many rivals in Spain having already built their new stadium but they borrowed from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s company Inbursa to pay for the arena, taking out a loan estimated at €200m (£174m) that will not be paid off in full until 2028.
Atletico Madrid still owe a lot of money from a loan for their Wanda Metropolitano stadium
Meanwhile, Valencia have been planning to sell their Mestalla stadium for redevelopment
They stand to lose around €100m (£87m) a season from missed Champions League revenue that will only be partially off-set by far inferior Europa League prize money.
Atletico, like Valencia, have planned for ongoing participation in European football.
Both clubs are still hopeful that the season can be finished.
Atletico feel that their performance at Anfield will serve as a springboard to a strong run-in in the domestic competition.
Reaching next season’s Champions League is every bit as important to them financially as doing well in the current one.