The LaLiga Regulations: Everything from grass, typography, mascots, goal celebrations…
There are up to 100 different aspects to LaLiga‘s Audiovisual Regulations from the font used on match shirts, to clothing worn by security and ball kids, to even how long a goal celebration can last on the megaphone, and all clubs must abide by each and every detail.
These regulations cover everything to do with broadcasting with the aim of providing the best possible experience for fans. Here is a sampling of the regulations:
“The clubs understand that if broadcasting is better, we are all worth more, it’s not just about television,” Melcior Soler, LaLiga’s director of Audiovisual said.
“The experience you have through a tablet, a big screen, in a bar… it must always be the best.”
Soler is demanding excellence for every single match, something which has become the norm in other leagues throughout Europe. “When we were writing it, we looked at everything from the Premier League to the Champions League and the Bundesliga.
“It’s a regulation which will grow and we have already introduced some of our own innovations,” he said.
Two sets of electrical equipment per stadium
One important aspect is pitch lighting and clubs must have two permanent electrical inputs, one to be used and one as a spare.
“The stadium lights take 20 minutes to turn on, a blackout during a game can not be allowed, because we are broadcasting to the whole world, to millions of people,” Soler continued.
“Last year, for example, there was an electrical failure during a match in the Estadio Anoeta in San Sebastien (Donóstia) but the response was so immediate that the light didn’t even go off and the game did not stop. In La Coruña, however, there was a blackout, because they were not up to date.
“The light always has to be in perfect conditions, we must bear in mind that most of the matches in the competition are played with artificial lighting, if the stadium is not well lit, everything goes wrong.”
The grass, beautifully green and 20-30 millimetres long
The pitch must also be in pristine condition for a few key reasons.
The health of the players as to avoid injury, for the most optimal playing conditions and for a visual purpose – the greener the better.
“The grass is seen for 90% of the broadcast and it has to be perfect,” Soler explained. To ensure their rigorous rules are being adhered to, LaLiga will carry out inspections of the grass. Current guidelines dictate that the grass needs to be between 20 and 30 millimeters long and cut in a straight line.
Keeping Up Appearances
LaLiga believe that perception is key when it comes to how full a stadium appears and have therefore asked their clubs to ensure the majority of fans are positioned in view of the TV cameras. The area opposite of where the game braodcast cameras are located should be at least 75 percent full. Exceptions are made for a game on a Friday or if the weather conditions are adverse.
“This is a sociological issue, we’re all human, if you see a stadium that is half empty, you’ll likely change the channel. We want to generate interest in the competition and we want there to be fans,” Soler said. He believes this policy is already paying off.
Using the Coloseo Alfonso Pérez in Getafe as an example, Soler said, “We have managed to get the Getafe field, which has followed this, to be full, because the club repositions its fans to the area of TV.”
Fans ‘displaced’ by cameras
For the broadcast of each game, between 15 and 20 cameras are installed in different areas of the stadium. “They have to be placed exactly where intended, even if that means that there has to be relocation in other areas of the stands for the supporters.”
Goal celebration, only 15 seconds
The regulations state that public address speakers in the stadium can only celebrate goals for a maximum of 15 seconds.
Images ‘without controversy’ on the big screens
Another new addition to the regulations is that this season, the big screens in stadiums are allowed to show replays from the match, but with one caveat: they must not show controversial incidents that take place.
Uniform font for player names and numbers
The typography of all player names and numbers must be the same for all teams – the clubs can no longer decide. “This is something that is also done in the Premier League and it is important because it identifies us as a competition,” Soler continued.
In 2017, La Liga introduced a streamlined font to be used by all teams of the Spanish first division, similar to the Premier League. Real Madrid were unhappy with the decision and filed a lawsuit against La Liga. The leauge won that case. Teams, however, can use their own font for the Champions League or Europa League competitions.
The ‘tactical camera’: match footage live in the dressing room
One of the changes in the regulation is that it no longer allows each team’s coaching staff of each club to record matches to later use with the players.
Instead, LaLiga has introduced the ‘tactical camera’.
“It records the matches, it is fixed in the middle of the pitch and it has a general vision all over it, all in high definition,” the LaLiga chief said.
This means that coaches will be able to analyse matches during half-time and show players what went wrong.
After matches, all teams will have access to the footage and can use them to study their next opponents.
Nets, only white
Multi-coloured netting, tailored to each club, is now prohibited. All nets must be white in order to improve visibility and make it clear when the ball has hit the back of the net or not.
Nine interviews per season and the ‘Video-day’
During the season, each club has to provide LaLiga‘s official production company with at least nine interviews with players to provide content for their channels.
The ‘Video-day’ will also be introduced, which means each club must grant LaLiga access to record animations of each player, which can then be played on the big screens on match day.
The coach: interviewed five minutes after the final whistle
Each team’s coach must be interviewed five minutes after full-time, so that it can be seen live on television.
Camera crew in blue, ball kids in grey
Stadium staff like ball kids, photographers, camera crews and security must all be wearing different colour bibs to avoid confusion. The ball kids will wear grey vests, photographers and people involved in the transmission are in blue, security is in yellow. Caretakers of the field are in dark green.
Fan banners can not cover advertising
Fans will now need to ensure that any banners in the crowd do not obstruct any advertising boards in the stadium.
The team talk filmed and sponsored
This is not compulsory, but, if the clubs wish, they can allow LaLiga to record the coach’s pre and post match team talks in the dressing room. Club sponsors can be shown while these images are broadcasted.
Mascots, human size and with a limited presence
Even team mascots have rules to be complied with. The regulation states they should be similar in size to a regular human and dressed in first team kit. Furthermore, they can only be seen before a match, at half-time and after the final whistle. Thus, for most of the match, they are out-of-sight.
The sponsored microphone and two bottles in the press room
In the press room, microphones can be covered with sponsors’ branding provided it is no greater than ’30 centimeters wide and 24 centimeters high’. It can be accompanied by two bottles but these must not be alcohol or even non alcoholic beer.
1,000 euros fine for each penalty point
If a club receives any penalty points after a match for any particular reason, they will be fined. Each ‘point’ will be met with a 1,000 euros fine.
The best and worst compliant teams
Looking at last season’s data, Alaves and Valencia were the best behaved when it came to adhering to these regulations, while Real Madrid was the least compliant team in LaLiga Santander.
The summary of these last two seasons is that clubs are becoming more committed.
“The conclusion is that compliance with the Regulation has been improving every season since it came into effect in 2016-17,” Melcior Soler explained.
LaLiga’s objective is clear: “We want LaLiga to have the greatest interest in the world and thus reach the Premier League.”
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