Plight of Pedro Leon highlights how La Liga’s finest could face economic exile
One of La Liga's longest-running and most savoured gag reels are the curious accounting practices of the clubs in Spanish football's top flight - namely their longstanding love of spending considerably more money than they actually have in their Primera pockets.
La Liga Loca is potentially going to have to go in Heart of Darkness-style search of new material, as there is increasing evidence that the game in Spain is pulling back from the brink of a financial black hole with reverse thrusters at 1000%.
However, the victims of this sudden change in direction will be the players - the poor souls who have suffered so much in the past.
Getafe is currently the centre-point of an economic revolution, with the Coliseum club unable to field arguably their only decent player: Pedro León.
The former Real Madrid midfielder was not registered as part of Getafe's playing squad this season due to salary cap rules brought in by the Spanish League. The €2 million earned by Pedro León would have tipped the Madrid club over the €17m limit calculated using Getafe’s annual budget.
Club president Angel Torres seemed weirdly untroubled by this move, saying the LFP was quite right to take the action it did, which could seriously endanger the team’s Primera place. “There is no row here,” declared Torres. “I am happy with the squad I have.”
Rather than blaming the rule-makers, the head honcho waved the foam finger of accusation at Pedro León, with reports suggesting the 27-year-old refused to take a salary cut or accept offers from other teams.
‘Poppycock’ declares León, who claims it was the club that turned down perfectly good offers to leave him training with Getafe but unable to play. “Ask the Spanish and German clubs that wanted to buy me,” huffed the footballer.
León has now called on the Players' Union (AFE), who are naturally concerned their members will suffer once again due to bad economic practices of the clubs, with unpaid salaries already a regular problem.
The union is studying the option of legal action against the LFP, but is already strong in its condemnation of Getafe’s treatment of León. “If they didn’t want him, then they shouldn’t have exercised an option to buy,” said AFE legal assessor Santiago Nebot on Getafe’s purchase of the player.
The situation of Pedro León could be resolved shortly, with a loan deal to Sevilla for the season, but the current kerfuffle at the Coliseum could well be repeated throughout La Liga in the years to come, with newly responsible clubs unable to field footballers they perhaps shouldn’t have bought in the first place.
Once again, the workhorses of La Liga are set to be the victims of the sins of the past.