La Liga players threaten strike over US match
Footballers in Spain are “outraged” by the prospect of competitive La Liga matches being played in the U.S. and have not ruled out strike action, says the country’s players’ union.
High-profile stars, among them Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and Barcelona’s vice-captain Sergio Busquets, attended a meeting Wednesday to discuss La Liga’s 15-year deal with U.S. media company Relevant.
AFE, the players’ union, said its members were not consulted before the Spanish league announced last week that regular-season matches would be played in the U.S. as part of a deal La Liga president Javier Tebas described as a “ground-breaking agreement.”
If it goes ahead, it would be the first time that La Liga matches will be played outside Spain as the league looks to promote its brand in North America.
David Aganzo, Spanish Footballers’ Association president, said making the deal without consulting the players “shows a lack of respect.”
“It’s not just the game as such, in terms of health and travel, it just makes no sense to have a game played in the United States and have one team have to give up a home game.
“It cannot be that a person takes a decision of a 15-year agreement, which affects many people and without consulting. We are fed up with not being valued.”
Aganzo added that though striking would be a “last option” it had not been ruled out.
“I have information that there are certain clubs that are in favor and others against this, but I represent the players,” he said.
“We need to sort this out with the union, and we will tell them all of our problems.
“If, from then on and after a few days, they don’t answer, then we will have to solve the situation. We are going to try to see that it doesn’t reach [a strike]. But we are willing to go right to the last option if it is necessary.”
It has yet to be confirmed when the US-based match would take place or what teams would be involved.
La Liga did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment over the alleged lack of consultation and the prospect of a potential strike.