MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s La Liga has been given the go-ahead in a court ruling to continue staging matches on Fridays but not on Mondays following the latest round of a tug-of-war with the country’s national football federation (RFEF).
The decision by Madrid judge Andres Sanchez Magro, which is provisional and was announced in a 32-page document on Friday, means that the season can start as planned with a match between Athletic Bilbao and titleholders Barcelona on Friday Aug. 16.
However, two games due to be played on Monday, Aug. 19, will have to be moved.
La Liga had wanted to continue staging matches on both Fridays and Mondays, as well as Saturdays and Sundays, as it has done in the past, while the RFEF wanted all first- and second-tier matches to be restricted to weekends.
The case went to court after the two sides failed to reach a compromise at a meeting organised last month by the government’s National Sports Council (CSD).
La Liga says it needs to stagger matches to maximise revenue from domestic and international television broadcasters, but the RFEF has argued that scheduling late night football, especially on Mondays, makes it difficult for fans to attend matches.
RFEF president Luis Rubiales said it was “an historic day.”
“My commitment to the fans to banish Mondays from our football has been fulfilled,” he said. “It is quite clear that the judge recognises the powers of the RFEF and, therefore, that those powers are not of the Liga. The RFEF needs to authorise any changes.”
“It is a moment for clubs, players and fans to be happy.”
La Liga said it would appeal the decision which it said contained “clear contradictions and passes judgment over issues it was not required to without offering sound judicial motives, arguments or reasoning.”
It also said it would continue to guarantee national and international broadcasters “ten different, non-overlapping match slots, satisfying the majority of fans both in Spain and across the world who attend matches in stadiums and pay subscriptions to different television platforms.”
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Hugh Lawson