Spanish strike ends after players seal new agreement with league

Spanish footballers have finally called off a damaging strike that had delayed the start of the domestic Liga campaign for the first time in 27 years.

The players’ association (AFE) struck a deal with the league on Thursday over wage guarantees and an arrangement to allow stars to break their contracts if they are not paid for three consecutive months. According to the AFE, 200 players across the top two divisions are owed a total of about Eur50 million in unpaid wages with several clubs in administration.

“The strike is officially suspended. The situation of the 200 players who had unpaid salaries has been resolved,” AFE president Luis Rubiales told a press conference, according to AFP. “This is a very important step for Spanish football, but it is only one turning point,” he added, citing the fact that the Spanish government has not yet voted on a law that would relegate teams for failing to fulfil player salary obligations.

The league and the AFE have agreed to establish a fund to guarantee unpaid wages, but the total amount in the fund has not been disclosed. Spanish League president Jose Luis Astiazaran, who was sitting alongside Rubiales at the press conference, added: “Today is not the day to talk about amounts. Suffice to say that through the fund…the payments due to the players who have not been paid will be guaranteed.”

Astiazaran added that the postponed round of games in La Liga would take place on January 22, with the matches originally scheduled for that date being shifted to May 2. The Segunda Division games that were lost to the strike have been rescheduled for October 26. A similar strike threat looms in Italy, where Serie A players are in a dispute with the league stakeholders over a new collective agreement.


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