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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Last two games of Spanish season to be suspend in row over TV money rights

Real Madrid's Javier Hernandez celebrates his late winner against Atletico Madrid during their Champions League quarter-final second leg clash at the Bernabeu Stadium
Real Madrid's Javier Hernandez celebrates his late winner against Atletico Madrid during their Champions League quarter-final second leg clash at the Bernabeu Stadium

The Spanish football league (LFP) will take legal action against the Spanish federation over its plans to suspend all domestic competitions indefinitely from May 16.

The federation (RFEF) announced on Wednesday evening that it would halt football in the country later this month over a dispute regarding government interference in the league's television rights.

The LFP, which will hold an extraordinary general assembly next Monday in the hope to avoid the proposed strike going ahead, said in a statement: "Regarding the decision adopted by the RFEF's General Assembly to indefinitely suspend all football competitions at every level, the LFP states that it has taken the corresponding legal actions in defence of the rights and legitimate interests of the clubs, as well as the rights of the competitions that it organises and that have been grossly affected by the aforementioned decision by the RFEF.

"The RFEF's decision is null and void by law... given that the sports law and the current co-ordination agreement attributes to the LFP the right to organise professional competitions and approve the sporting calendar of those competitions.

"The LFP expressly reserves the right to take legal action to claim for the serious damages as well as any financial, sporting, social or any other type of harm that may arise from the RFEF's decision."

If the strike does takes place, the Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao on May 30 will be affected, as well as the final two rounds of Primera Division action.

At the heart of the dispute is a proposed law which will force the RFEF to sell television rights for the Primera Division collectively instead of individually, as is currently the case.

Under the proposed legislation, which still needs the approval of the country's parliament, the RFEF would be awarded 4.55 per cent of pools revenue from the Spanish government, a figure the federation deems inadequate.

The RFEF has the backing of the Spanish professional footballers' union (AFE). The union is considering strike action as well, as it is unhappy at being left out of the negotiations as well as with its own lack of revenue in the deal.

In contrast, the LFP fully supports the government's plans.

The LFP added: "The Royal Decree represents an historic milestone for Spanish football with a clear degree of corporate social responsibility.

"With the estimated income forecasts, the payroll of Segunda Division teams is expected to double compared to current figures.

"Additionally, with this agreement, over 300 Primera Division female players as well as more than 2,000 Segunda Division B players, will be entitled to social security.

"This measure will equally benefit all top level sports, with athletes receiving one per cent that will guarantee their social security payments, which is a necessary initiative to protect the Spanish Brand for our elite sportsmen and women.

"The LFP would like to highlight the support shown by numerous sports men and women towards this measure."

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