COPA DEL REY

Copa del Rey: RFEF plans single-legged ties and finals event

Copa del Rey: RFEF plans single-legged ties and finals event

Lluis Gene

AFP

Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales is planning a radical overhaul of Spain's major domestic cup competition.

Revolution

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is preparing an overhaul of the Copa del Rey, with RFEF president Luis Rubiales set to propose radical changes to the competition's format at the governing body's end-of-season general assembly. Rubiales wants to bring in single-legged ties in every round and introduce a UEFA Nations League-style finals tournament consisting of two semi-finals and a trophy decider. The plan is for the event to close out the domestic campaign and be held in a city with at least two top-level stadiums, such as Madrid, Barcelona or Seville.

Challenges

Getting such a plan off the ground involves dealing with two chief issues. Firstly, the RFEF will have to convince the clubs in Primera División to agree to single-game ties against - and potentially away to - lower-league outfits, rather than a format which, at present, is less conducive to giant-killings. Secondly, a Copa finals would also entail one city being able to meet the needs of a quartet of teams at the same time, and handle four sets of supporters.

Barcelona have won the last four editions of the Copa del Rey, which is currently played over two legs in every round except the final.

Television

Despite being at loggerheads over almost every issue going, LaLiga and the RFEF are in agreement over the need to overhaul the Copa del Rey. Rubiales and LaLiga's president, Javier Tebas, have held discussions on the proposal, which might well have been implemented this season had the television rights for the tournament in its current format not already been sold.

Increased revenue

The change of format is expected to increase the Copa's potential TV revenue, and a process whereby cities would bid for the right to host the finals (as long as they fulfil the requirement of having at least two top-tier stadiums) would be a further source of income for the competition. In turn, the RFEF would be left in a position to increase the prize money available to the teams taking part.

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