Fri, Aug 24, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Players’ union threatens strike over match in US

AFP, MADRID

The Spanish soccer players’ union on Wednesday threatened to strike over controversial plans to play a La Liga match in the US, calling it a decision based only on “money and business.”

“We are tired of these unilateral decisions that directly affect the players like this plan of playing outside Spain,” Association of Spanish Footballers president David Aganzo said after a meeting attended by a host of stars, including Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets.

La Liga on Thursday last week announced that it planned to stage a match in North America as part of an expansion drive.

The teams and the venue were not disclosed, but newspaper El Pais said the match would take place over the 2018-2019 season and would probably feature either Barcelona or Real Madrid as one of the teams.

The association plans to meet with La Liga chiefs next month to try to convince the league to give up on the plan, Aganzo said.

If not, at the “end of September or the beginning of October, we will have to start acting,” Aganzo said, adding that the union was “prepared to go to the end,” evoking the possibility of a “strike.”

“We are used to seeing football played only for money and business,” he said, adding that La Liga officials no longer take into account “the health and risk for the players.”

The national supporters federation has described the plan to move a match to the US as an “aberration.”

La Liga earned 3.6 billion euros (US$4.16 million) in revenue during the 2016-2017 season, nearly 40 percent of which came from TV rights, and generated a pretax profit of 234 million euros.

For the 2017-2018 season, La Liga said it hoped to exceed revenue of 4 billion euros for the first time.

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