Judge orders Spanish football league to play

The Spanish league will go ahead as scheduled this weekend after

a judge ruled Wednesday against a strike called by clubs in dispute

over television revenue.

Judge Purificacion Pujol backed an appeal made by six mid-table

clubs – Sevilla, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad,

Espanyol and Zaragoza- that opposed the strike saying, ”the

official league calendar should remain unaltered.”

The league announced the strike on March 23, citing a lack of

progress in talks with the government over club demands that a law

guaranteeing that one match per week is broadcast on free-to-air

television be revoked. The clubs argue they need the additional TV

revenue that the extra game would provide.

The league wants to move to a complete pay-TV model like their

English and Italian counterparts.

The postponement would have affected both first and second

division games, including Barcelona’s visit to third-place

Villarreal and Real Madrid’s game against Sporting Gijon.

All 20 first division clubs agree on revoking the law but there

was a split over whether or not to play the next round.

Thirteen clubs, including Madrid and Barcelona, voted for the

strike at a league general assembly while the six clubs that

appealed voted against the measure.

Secretary of State for Sport Jaime Lissavetzky had asked the

league to be sensible and call off the strike, adding that that the

government was willing to continue talks.

Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido said the Spanish league

had the most unfair revenue sharing in Europe but that now was not

the moment to make demands and that the fans should not have to pay

the consequences.

Valencia international winger Juanma Mata said last week the

strike would have been negative for the players.

The ruling can be appealed. There was no immediate reaction from

the league or top clubs.