August 22, 2018 / 1:42 PM / a month ago

Soccer - Spain players don't rule out strike over plans for U.S. games

MADRID (Reuters) - The union of Spanish footballers (AFE) is unanimously opposed to La Liga’s plans to play regular season games in the United States and will not rule out going on strike to protest against the proposals, it said on Wednesday.

La Liga’s organising body announced last week in partnership with multinational media, sports and entertainment group Relevent that it plans to hold Spanish top-flight games in the U.S. in the future.

La Liga has not given details on when the first match across the Atlantic will take place, how many games per season would be involved, how they would be selected or whether it would compensate the loss of home advantage for teams involved.

Captains and vice-captains representing the 20 clubs in the league including Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets and Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos attended a meeting in Madrid called by AFE President David Aganzo in response to last week’s announcement.

“The captains are surprised and angry that such an important decision was taken without being consulted. The players are unanimously against this, no-one is in favour of it,” Aganzo told a news conference.

“There are some clubs that are in favour and others that are against it, but I’m speaking on behalf of the footballers.”

Aganzo, who became head of the union this year when Luis Rubiales left the role to become president of the Spanish Football Federation, did not rule out organising a players’ strike if their concerns are not heard.

“I will state very clearly that we will do everything possible to avoid this,” he added.

A La Liga spokesperson said the organising body “will meet with AFE in the appropriate forum to discuss the plans”.

The spokesperson also pointed to comments made by La Liga president Javier Tebas from last week’s announcement.

Tebas said: “If we play one game in another country, we’ll go hand in hand with the clubs and institutions. La Liga excites millions of fans around the world. Let’s build bridges and grow while transmitting the values of football and of our country.”

Reporting by Richard Martin in Barcelona and Brian Homewood in Berne, editing by Ed Osmond

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