In a startling development, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has called an indefinite strike on La Liga and Copa Del Rey matches from May 16. This is following a dispute regarding a new law passed by the Spanish government over television broadcasting rights, and will impact the last two rounds of fixtures.
In the legislation approved last week, Spanish clubs will now sell their television rights collectively. Currently, each club has its individual discretion over their rights, and this has led to lopsided development, with Real Madrid and Barcelona making most of the money. The government now wishes to follow a system similar to the English Premier League and the Italian Serie A, in a bid to wipe out these financial differences.
Spain’s Education, Culture and Sports Minister Juan Ignacio Wert said, “The ratio between the club who earned most and least last season was at 1:7. It will pass to 1:4.5 and we want to reach an ideal which is 1:3.5, when the revenues get to the 1.5 billion euros desired.”
The legislation, which is planned to be enforced from 2016, has still got to be passed by the opposition in the Spanish Parliament in order to become a law.
The Spanish Footballers’ Association (AFE) called a strike over the matter, as the players will only receive 0.5% of the share of the total revenue earned from selling these broadcasting rights. In contrast, the players in England get 1.5% of the share. It is also reported by AS that the players are incensed by the fact that an unjustifiable percentage is being given to women’s football and the Segunda divisions. According to the website, this strike is being backed by the RFEF, the coaches in the top two divisions, the referees’ committee and all of the territorial federations.
The La Liga title race has gone right down to the wire, with just 2 points separating Real Madrid and Barcelona with 3 games left to play. Their fixtures on May 9 will go forward as scheduled, but the final two rounds of games are likely to be postponed if the strike isn’t called off by then. Also, the Copa Del Rey Final on May 30 between Barca and Athletic Bilbao is in danger of being shifted to a later date.