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La Liga creates €200m contingency fund to boost Spanish sports

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Clubs in Spain's top two divisions have agreed to give an additional €200 million ($217m) over the next four years to boost Spanish sports and lower league football, the league's organising body La Liga said in a statement on Tuesday.

Since signing a collective broadcasting rights deal in 2015, La Liga has donated 1% of its revenue to Spain's sports ministry.

It has increased this to 2.5% as part of a new agreement, while it has doubled its contribution to the national football federation (RFEF) from 1% to 2%.

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The agreement comes after an eight-hour meeting between La Liga's president Javier Tebas and RFEF chief Luis Rubiales, who have had a long-running dispute over how Spanish football should be run, and the sports minister Irene Lozano.

The intervention by the government has helped bring some peace to the relationship between the Spanish league and the Spanish football federation.

The country's sports council brought together the league and the federation for a meeting this weekend and said both parties have come to terms on several issues.

The government is apparently concerned with Spain's image abroad ahead of a joint bid with Portugal for the 2030 World Cup.

The government said there were "constructive talks" in the daylong conversations in the meeting that included sports council president Irene Lozano, league president Javier Tebas and federation president Luis Rubiales.

"This agreement looks to help sport not just in these moments of crisis provoked by COVID-19 but forever," said the statement. "This is a structural measure with no time limit which will strengthen the commitment of the professional clubs and La Liga with Spanish sport."

Many La Liga clubs have been damaged financially by the pause in football due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have enacted wage cuts, although other sports and non-professional clubs have also been hit during the national state of emergency. The virus has so far infected more than 200,000 people in Spain, claiming 21,282 lives.

La Liga's statement added that it would be contributing a total of €51m per year to the sports ministry as a result of the new agreement, which would go towards "creating a fund to help boost organised sport, Olympic and Paralympic sports and internationalisation of sport".

The 1% increase to the RFEF would mean an increase of €17m, taking its total contribution to the federation to €58.7m, which would go towards "improving infrastructure and improving the competitiveness of non-professional leagues.

The statement also said La Liga had agreed to contribute €3.3m per season for the next three seasons to an emergency fund to help non-professional players.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.