x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Top two leagues in Spain to strike

A dispute over the non-payment of salaries may mean a delay to the start of La Liga as players go on strike.

MADRID //Football players from Spain's top two divisions are to go on strike at the start of the season, the head of the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) announced yesterday.

The decision was taken after the AFE and the Professional Football League (LFP), which represents clubs in the two divisions, failed to reach a collective agreement, in particular concerning the non-payment of salaries, Luis Rubiales told a news conference.

"Footballers from the first and second divisions have taken the responsible, firm and unanimous decision to go on strike on the two first match days of the football season", which starts on August 20.

"This does not mean that we are dropping all dialogue. We will continue with it for the good of the footballers and for the good of football, but the league will not begin until a new agreement is signed," the AFE chairman said.

The players are in disagreement with the LFP over unpaid salaries by some indebted clubs.

"We condemn the failure of clubs to fulfil contracts they have signed with the players. Every day there are more, €50 million [Dh265m], more than 200 footballers were involved over the years," he said.

Rubiales was surrounded by about 100 players, including Iker Casillas, the Spain captain, and other internationals such as Carles Puyol, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Llorente and Santi Cazorla.

"We have asked that all players who are owed at least three months salary break their contracts, but they have been shelved," he said.

"We have proposed, as exists in other countries, preventive measures so that this situation does not occur.