AFE confirm La Liga strike

The Spanish Footballers’ Association (AFE) has confirmed that Spain’s top two divisions will hold an indefinite strike from May 16.

The AFE called a Thursday Press conference in Madrid to explain their position regarding the planned strike, announced by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Wednesday, which will affect the final two rounds of fixtures plus the Copa del Rey final between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona on May 30.

First team captains from several clubs attended the meeting at the Hotel NH Madrid Ventas, as well as other players, with those present including Dani Parejo, Antonio Barragan, Carlos Vela, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Iker Casillas, Borja Oubina and Antonio Amaya.

AFE President Luis Rubiales clarified the organisation’s stance on the royal decree established by the Spanish government at the beginning of May, which will centralise audiovisual broadcasting rights and has been rejected by the AFE.

Rubiales argued that it puts greater emphasis on womens’ football and clubs in Spain’s third tier – the Segunda Division B – as well as giving both a larger share from the TV rights pools.

The RFEF also have several issues with the decree, including the deprivation of their usual share of 4.55 per cent from ‘La Quiniela’- the weekly football pools. They also feel aggrieved by a move to make them the sole guarantor for clubs owing tax and social security, while they believe that amateur clubs should be exempt from investigation by the tax authorities.

Another bone of contention is the plan to transfer competitions run by the RFEF to the Spanish League’s (LFP) control.

“The AFE has been excluded fromthe new audiovisual rights act, in breachof what parliament has planned,” Rubiales stated.

“The sub-committee for professional sport ceded control to the government so that a collective agreement could be reached which involved all relevant parties.

“That hasn’t been respected by the government, but it’s not just an issue which relates to Spain as the European Commission created a group in which the AFE, through FIFPro, is represented by the clubs and by the League.

“We have decided, therefore, to call this strike, not to go all out on the offensive but in defence of our rights, which we believe have been infringed".

Tags AFE LFP Luis Rubiales RFEF