Spain’s football league on Monday urged players and officials to abandon a threatened strike, warning of the “serious harm” to the sport if key end-of-season matches are scrapped.
Players from top teams including Barcelona and Real Madrid have joined with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) in threatening to boycott the last games of the season in a row over the sharing of broadcasting revenues.
“They are the ones who have called the strike and they are the ones who must call off these stoppages,” the president of the professional football league (LFP), Javier Tebas, told a news conference.
“It is not only professional football that is concerned but also the football that they claim to care so much about: the third division and amateur football.”
He spoke after an extraordinary meeting of the league body, which represents the top two divisions of Spanish football including the Primera Liga.
Tebas has long been vying for control of Spanish football with Angel Maria Villar, head of the RFEF which governs the lower leagues and amateur football in Spain.
The RFEF and the AFE players’ union are protesting against the terms of a new law that obliges broadcasters to negotiate collectively with the league for the lucrative rights to screen matches and redistributes the revenues.
They say it does not give a fair share of television revenues to smaller lower-league clubs.
The league warned in a statement after Monday’s meeting that the federation’s “actions with the connivance of the footballers’ union are causing very serious harm to professional and amateur football”.
It urged the federation and the union to drop their threat to strike from May 16 and negotiate in line with existing agreements.
The league on Friday filed a lawsuit against the union to block the strike. It has also launched procedures against the federation over its threatened stoppage.
Tebas warned the strike could cost 50 million euros ($56 million) per match day in lost revenues.
The National Court summoned the league and the union to present their cases at a hearing on Wednesday.
It said in a statement it would then decide whether to order the strike to be suspended.
Meanwhile Tebas said the league would hold mediation talks with the union from Tuesday.
The stoppage could affect all top-flight games this coming weekend, including the clash between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday in which the Catalans could be crowned champions.
If no agreement is found in time, it could also affect the Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao set for May 30.