MADRID (Reuters) - A potential strike by top Spanish footballers has been suspended after a petition filed by the league (LFP) against planned action by the players’ union (AFE) was upheld by the High Court on Thursday.
The strike threatened to disrupt the final two matchdays in La Liga, and the King’s Cup final at the end of the month, because the AFE were unhappy with a new law mandating collective bargaining for the sale of television rights.
That provoked a challenge by the LFP who argued the action was illegal.
The national soccer federation (RFEF) are also unhappy with the law but, following Thursday’s court ruling, they reversed their decision to suspend competition indefinitely across Spanish football from Saturday.
“Taking into account the order made by the High Court today, the Spanish football federation lifts the measure (suspension) ... so the competitions can be played according to the schedule and times originally planned,” the federation said on their website (www.rfef.es).
La Liga leaders Barcelona can now visit Atletico Madrid on Sunday when a win would secure a fifth title in seven years for the Catalan giants.
The new TV law, approved last month and backed by the LFP, would replace the current system under which rights are marketed by individual clubs, unique among Europe’s top leagues where collective bargaining is used.
The measure aims to share out cash more fairly between teams, starting from season 2016-17, and remove some of the weighting towards the richest and most successful clubs such as Real Madrid and Barca.
The AFE support the idea of collective bargaining but are less than pleased with the share of cash set aside for lower division clubs.
The RFEF believe the law will rob the federation of powers and are opposed to what they say are plans to use money from football to fund other sports.
Sports minister Jose Ignacio Wert said he was hopeful the government and league on one side and the union and the federation on the other would be able to settle their differences.
“We have worked actively with the AFE over the past two days and as a result there has been a considerable approximation of positions,” Wert told reporters.
“We believe there is no insuperable obstacle to an agreement on all the issues that concern the union and in the same spirit we hope to overcome any differences with the federation.”
Additional reporting by Emma Pinedo and Iain Rogers, editing by Sarah White and Tony Jimenez