MADRID - Spanish first and second division players will strike for the
first two weekends of the 2011/12 league season, the players'
union (AFE) said on Thursday.
The football league (LFP) responded in a statement saying
they did not understand the strike call with negotiations
ongoing and the leagues due to start on August 20-21.
"We are unanimous and firm in our decision to call a
strike," AFE president Luis Rubiales told a news conference.
"The league will not start until a new agreement [between the
league and the players] has been signed."
The AFE were supported at the event by over 100 top flight
footballers, including Spanish internationals Iker Casillas and
Carles Puyol, and union representatives from the International
Players' Union FIFPro, France, Germany and Italy.
At the heart of the dispute is the union's demand for a
larger emergency fund to help players not being paid by clubs
who are in financial administration.
The AFE said last year 12 million euros was
owed to about 100 players and at the end of last season that
figure stood at almost 50 million owed to 200 players.
The LFP said progress had been achieved and it had "adopted
two historical changes to Spanish football that corresponded to
the players requests."
They had brought in a new financial self-regulation code for
clubs and made an extra effort to guarantee a fund to protect a
proportion of players' wages at clubs in administration.
"For this reason, the calling of a strike at a moment when
fundamental steps forward are being taken is incomprehensible
for the LFP," the league said, while pointing out they would
Earlier, Rubiales said they had been seeking a series of
protective measures for players that are commonplace in other
"It is lamentable. As it stands we are at the bottom of the
pile in Europe," Rubiales said.
"We don't want more money we want the clubs to honour the
contracts they sign with their players.
"We have put forward proposals which exist in Holland,
Germany, France and England which are preventative. In these
countries if a club shows it can't pay its players the club
"We have asked that players who are owed more than three
months [wages] can break their contracts. It seemed like we had
an agreement but it was left out."
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Rubiales said the LFP had unilaterally imposed a new
settlement at the beginning of August which the players
"Enough is enough," he added. "This does not mean we are
refusing to negotiate any more. We will do [so] for the good of
the players and football in general."
Spanish football has seen a growing number of clubs slip
into financial difficulties recently.
Racing Santander were the latest La Liga side to seek
protection from creditors, joining Real Mallorca, Real Zaragoza
and the three promoted teams - Real Betis, Rayo Vallecano and
Granada -- in administration.
A recent study by an accounting professor at Barcelona
University, Jose Maria Gay, showed the 20 top-flight clubs made
a combined net loss of some 100 million euros in the year to the
end of June 2010, up from 19 million the previous year.
The total debt at 3.43 billion euros was more than double
revenues of 1.61 billion euros.
A separate study Gay published last month showed second-tier
sides made a combined net loss of about 43.1 million euros in
the 2009/10 season and total debt was more than 550 million.
More than half of the 22 teams were in administration.
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