Clubs threaten boycott
Thirteen La Liga clubs have threatened to postpone the start of the season on the weekend of Aug. 18 over a TV-rights dispute involving broadcasters Canal+ and Mediapro. Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid, Real Betis Balompie, RC Celta de Vigo, RCD Espanyol, Getafe, Granada, RCD Mallorca, CA Osasuna, Rayo Vallecano de Madrid, Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Real Zaragoza issued a list of demands which included a call for the professional league (LFP) to adopt a “transparent and regulated” system for fixing match kickoff times. They urged LFP president Jose Luis Astiazaran, who has been accused of helping some clubs with favorable kickoff times that disadvantage others, to convene a meeting of all 20 La Liga clubs on Tuesday next week to discuss and vote on the demands. Many of the 13 are also unhappy with the way Real Madrid and Barcelona dominate revenue from audiovisual rights, because of the lack of a system of collective bargaining and income-sharing like those used in rival European leagues.
Suarez stays at Reds
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has signed a new long-term contract at Anfield, the Merseyside club announced on Tuesday. The Uruguayan had been linked with a move away from Liverpool this summer, after an often difficult last season, but he told the club’s official Web site that he was delighted to extend his stay. “To sign a new contract with Liverpool is unbelievable for me because I am so happy here at both the club and also in the city,” he told Liverpoolfc.com. The length of the new deal was not disclosed, but new Reds manager Brendan Rodgers admitted his delight that Suarez, who has scored 21 goals in 52 matches for the club, would be staying put for the foreseeable future.
Gunners sign Cazorla
Arsenal have strengthened their midfield with the acquisition of Spanish playmaker Santi Cazorla from La Liga side Malaga, the Premier League club said on Tuesday. “Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that Spain international Santi Cazorla has joined the Club on a long-term contract,” Arsenal said on their Web site. Malaga also confirmed the deal, which Spanish and British media reported was worth about ￡15 million (US$23.38 million). Cazorla is Arsenal’s third major summer signing, joining Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, who moved from FC Cologne and Montpellier HSC respectively. The 27-year-old has made 45 appearances for Spain, including brief cameos at Euro 2012. He spent most of his career at Villarreal before joining Malaga last season, when he helped the Andalusian side qualify for the Champions League for the first time.
Huth might have meningitis
Stoke City defender Robert Huth has suspected meningitis and is awaiting the outcome of hospital checks, the Premier League club said yesterday. “The German international is due to undergo further tests to determine the strain of meningitis and the prognosis in terms of his recovery,” the club said on their Web site. Stoke is due to start the new season with a league game at promoted Reading on Aug. 18, but manager Tony Pulis said that was of secondary concern. “It’s a massive, massive worry for us, but the most important thing right now is Robert’s health and we are keeping our fingers crossed he’ll be okay,” Pulis said. “He started to feel unwell last week ... and then felt a lot worse over the weekend.”