Spanish football teams threaten to strike over discriminatory new sports law

The majority of Spain's topflight football teams have threatened to go on strike against a proposed new sports law which they argue benefits major clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Spanish football teams threaten to strike over discriminatory new sports law
La Liga also wants the new sports law to make it possible sanction clubs playing in competitions which it does not approve of. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

La Liga – which governs Spain’s professional football divisions – has called an extraordinary assembly on Thursday to discuss next steps including a possible strike over the draft legislation which still needs the approval of parliament.

The row pits Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Athletic de Bilbao along with the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) — the governing body of football in Spain – against La Liga.

There are two main issues in the spat over the law which has the backing of Spain’s ruling Socialists and the main opposition conservative Popular Party (PP).

One involves an agreement reached with private equity firm CVC which paid €2.0 billion in exchange for 8.2 percent of La Liga’s revenues from its image rights during 50 years.

Tweet reading “11 years ago the Premier League decided to share its TV revenue like this, 11 years later it’s been proven that this spread strengthened their league and weakened ours”.

La Liga says the deal will give it a cash injection that will allow it to compete with the English Premier League but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao opposed it, saying it gives up too much for too little money.

La Liga wants the new sports law to shield this agreement. It believes the major clubs oppose it because it calls for a more equitable distribution of football revenues among clubs.

Big clubs want to “return to an old football model where there were huge inequalities and the growth of more modest clubs was greatly restricted,” said the director general of second division side FC Granada, Alfredo García.

The football federation, however, argues the agreement with CVC forgets modest amateur clubs and questions the legality of the deal.

“Now the government and the main opposition party are going to change the rules of the game and are going to make legal what is illegal? That would be very serious,” RFEF president Luis Rubiales told daily newspaper El País.

La Liga also wants the new sports law to make it possible sanction clubs playing in competitions which it does not approve of, such as the proposed European Super League which would have been made up Europe’s elite clubs.

Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez was one of the main drivers of breakaway league.

In an advert published Tuesday in several Spanish newspapers on Tuesday, La Liga defended the need for a sports law “that does not favour the creation of a Super League that seriously damages Spanish football”.

La Liga says the government had agreed to address its concerns in the new sports law but the amendments it called for ended up disappearing from the legislation.

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Spain thrash Costa Rica 7-0 in World Cup opener

Spain shredded Costa Rica 7-0 on Wednesday in a brutal destruction in their Group E opener which launched their bid to lift a second World Cup.

Spain thrash Costa Rica 7-0 in World Cup opener

Avoiding the fate of giants Argentina and group rivals Germany, who lost 2-1 to Japan earlier on, Luis Enrique’s fancied side sparkled at Doha’s Al Thumama Stadium, dominating possession and taking their chances mercilessly.

Ferran Torres netted twice and Marco Asensio, Dani Olmo, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata were also on the scoresheet for the Euro 2020 semi-finalists in an emphatic romp.

In the past the 2010 World Cup winners have paid the price for profligacy, but all three forwards Luis Enrique selected netted in the first half to pay back his trust in them.

The coach placed Asensio at false nine, flanked by Olmo and Torres, starting with Morata and Ansu Fati on the bench.

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The coach opted to deploy Manchester City midfielder Rodri Hernandez in central defence, alongside club team-mate Aymeric Laporte, correctly anticipating his team would monopolise the ball.

It took only 11 minutes for La Roja to open the scoring, with Gavi stabbing a pass forward for Olmo to receive in the area and the RB Leipzig winger taking one sublime touch to turn and another to stroke the ball gently past Keylor Navas.

Costa Rica, who were a surprise package at the 2014 World Cup, beating Italy and Uruguay and drawing with England to top their group, were sliced apart again for the second goal 10 minutes later.

Jordi Alba’s low drilled cross was rammed home by Real Madrid forward Asensio past his former team-mate Navas, who might have done more to keep it out.

Torres stroked home from the penalty spot after Alba was fouled by Oscar Duarte –- a soft call on a hard night for Los Ticos, who were never in the game and failed to muster a shot at goal.

Barcelona forward Torres capitalised on more slack defending to fire the fourth past Navas early in the second half.

Luis Enrique was able to take off the effervescent Pedri and Torres before the hour mark in order to rest them for Sunday’s clash with Germany, and handed teenage Barcelona left-back Alejandro Balde his debut.

The 19-year-old roared up the pitch in the build-up to Spain’s fifth goal, with substitute Morata crossing for Gavi to drill home with aplomb.

Kopa Trophy winner Gavi became the third youngest goalscorer at a World Cup at 18 years and 110 days old, after Mexico’s Manuel Rosas and record holder Pele.

Soler and Morata then got in on the act with stoppage-time strikes to pile further misery on Costa Rica and help Spain flex their muscles in a perfect opening match in Qatar.