Fri, Aug 26, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Spanish soccer players call off strike after deal


Spanish soccer players yesterday called off a strike that has delayed the start of the Spanish season after reaching agreement with clubs on unpaid wages, the players’ association AFE said.

“The strike committee of the AFE and the Professional Football League reached an agreement that guarantees footballers’ salaries by various means,” it said in a statement. “The strike planned for Friday August 26, Saturday 27, Sunday 28 and Monday 29 is called off.”

The AFE says 200 players in the top two divisions are owed a total of about 50 million euros (US$72.24 million) in unpaid wages from cash-strapped clubs, some of which are in bankruptcy protection.

The AFE was demanding a wage guarantee and an agreement that players be allowed to break their contracts if they are not paid for three consecutive months. AFE said the league had finally accepted that measure.

The deal came in fresh talks after an earlier 12-hour session that stretched into the early morning as the clubs and players worked toward a deal to stop the strike extending to a second weekend.

Players in the first and second divisions — including stars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo — went on strike on the first match day on Saturday.

The strike delayed the start of the league for first time in 27 years.

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