Spanish judge says La Liga can’t schedule Monday games

MADRID (AP) — A judge has issued a preliminary ruling to allow the Spanish league to schedule matches on Fridays, but not on Mondays as it has done for several seasons.

The judge ruled Friday to partially accept the request by the Spanish league to put a stay on another court’s decision that would have limited games to Saturdays and Sundays, as wanted by the Spanish football federation.

The decision only affects the first three rounds of this season. A court will later make a definitive decision on what days the games can be played.

The federation says fans don’t like attending Monday games played at late hours. The league says the Monday games boost television revenues.

The league said in a statement that it did not agree with the decision and would appeal. It also said it can still offer television broadcasters all 10 matches per round without them overlapping on the schedule despite the removal of the Monday games.

Federation president Luis Rubiales celebrated the decision.

“We are very satisfied. It is a historic day,” Rubiales said. “The federation’s position, as well as my commitment to Spanish football and its fans, has been strengthened.”

The competition starts with Barcelona playing at Athletic Bilbao next Friday.

The judge’s ruling meant that two games originally scheduled to be played on Monday, Aug. 19 — Mallorca vs. Eibar and Real Betis vs. Valladolid — will be moved to the previous Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

The tug-of-war over the timetable is the latest conflict between league president Javier Tebas and Rubiales. They have criticized each other in public repeatedly, and last year the federation helped sink a plan by the league to play an official league match in the United States.