Spanish top leagues to strike: Association chief

Madrid: Football players from Spain`s top two divisions are to go on strike at the start of the season, the head of the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) announced on Thursday.

The decision was taken after the AFE and the Professional Football League (LFP), which represents clubs in the two divisions, failed to reach a collective agreement, in particular concerning non-payment of salaries, Luis Rubiales told a news conference.

"Footballers from the first and second divisions have taken the responsible, firm and unanimous decision to go on strike on the two first match days of the football season," which starts on August 20.

"This does not mean that we are dropping all dialogue. We will continue with it for the good of the footballers and for the good of football, but the league will not begin until a new agreement is signed," the AFE chairman said.

The players are in disagreement with the LFP over unpaid salaries by some indebted clubs.

"We condemn the failure of clubs to fulfill contracts they have signed with the players. Every day there are more. Fifty million euros, more than 200 footballers were involved over the years.”

"The situation is deplorable. The values of sport have not been respected, the players cannot be asked to do more. Footballers don`t want more money, we want to fulfill our contracts, to cover debts and we all want to enjoy football in a healthy competitive environment."

Rubiales was surrounded by about 100 players, including Spain captain Iker Casillas and other internationals such as Carles Puyol, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Llorente and Santi Cazorla.

"We have asked that all players who are owed at least three months salary break their contracts, but they have been shelved," he said.

"We have proposed, as exists in other countries, preventative measures so that this situation does not occur."

Earlier this year, the LFP itself had planned to strike during the last weekend of the season over broadcast rights.

But a judge barred the walkout, backing a suit filed by six first division clubs.

The LFP was protesting a long-standing rule that one first division match per weekend is broadcast for free on television.

Bureau Report

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