Spanish domestic games suspended amid dispute with government
The Spanish football federation has suspended all domestic matches amid a dispute with the government, it announced Wednesday.
The suspension will affect more 600,000 players and 30,000 matches, the federation said. Most notably, play in La Liga, the country's top division, will be disrupted.
La Liga games this weekend will go on as scheduled, but the suspension begins on May 17, the second-to-last weekend of the season. The final of the Copa del Rey between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, scheduled for May 30, is also in jeopardy.
Players, including superstar Lionel Messi, had threatened to strike in response to the new TV rights law recently approved by the Spanish government.
"The initial assumption is that this move has been taken in an attempt to head off a players strike which had been threatened for that weekend," Spanish soccer expert Andy West told the BBC. "Players are unhappy with some terms of the deal, including the low percentage of revenue on offer to lower league clubs."
Barcelona is currently in first place in La Liga, two points ahead of Real Madrid with three games to play.
- Dan Gartland