La Liga strike 'a defensive move' - Spanish players union chief
Spanish players union chief Luis Rubiales says he is right to defend the interests of his members by calling a strike which could throw the end of the current La Liga campaign into chaos.
The Spanish football federation (RFEF) and its president Angel Maria Villar are also backing the stoppage of all football in the country, over a dispute they say is primarily about government interference in the league's television rights.
If the strike does takes place, the Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao on May 30 will be affected, as well as the final two rounds of Primera Division action.
La Liga (LFP) president Javier Tebas and Spain's secretary of state for sport Miguel Cardenal, the main movers behind recently announced new legislation mandating how TV revenues are shared out, have both fiercely criticised the moves by Rubiales and Villar.
However, Barcelona star Lionel Messi had earlier in the week added his support to the union's stance, and Rubiales spoke at an event in Madrid on Thursday accompanied by including Iker Casillas, Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique -- leading Marca to claim that it was now possible this weekend's round 36 of games could be the last fixtures played in the 2014-15 campaign.
Rubiales told reporters at the event that his union felt strong -- and he was not opposed to a centralising of TV revenues, but upset that the players appeared to have been completely cut out of the deal.
"We have decided on a stoppage as we know we are right," the former Levante, Xerez and Hamilton Academicals defender said. "We feel strong. We want a centralized sale [of TV rights], but not for them to touch our rights, and even less in such a surprising way. We have been brought to this situation. This is a defensive move, not an attack."
Speaking later on El Larguero radio show Rubiales denied reports that a push by the Spanish taxman for players to pay more was one of the reasons for the move, saying that the LFP taking total control of the domestic game was his main issue.
"Whatever the LFP says goes," Rubiales said. "The team they want will go up or down according to their own criteria, if they do not want [Getafe midfielder] Pedro Leon to play, he does not play. The law gives La Liga the freedom to put in the rules they want. And that is an outrage."
The clubs, which all broadly welcomed the new TV deal, appear to be backing the LFP's stance -- with clubs from Real Madrid to Eibar publishing the league's criticism of the RFEF on their websites. An extraordinary meeting of club presidents is scheduled for Monday in Madrid to discuss the issue.
Valencia president Amadeo Salvo told AS that he understood there could be some issues to be resolved, but a strike would cause financial and reputational damage to the game.
"Of course Valencia does not agree with a strike now," Salvo said. "For many reasons, but above all for the moment we are in with everything in play and what is coming then. If we want to value football, this is not normal. Dialogue is there to resolve problems.
"A strike now would lead to very important financial damage for everyone, and would be devaluing the product. It would not be understood inside Spain or outside. There are lots of things I would change in the rules or the laws. It never comes out as everyone wants, but you do not act like this. I do not say you cannot fight against what you believe unfair, but you must be responsible about the consequences."