Champions League semis and administrative toy-depramming with Tim Stannard...
If La Liga Loca had a nickel and a dime for every time it had to cover a story in the heady world of Spanish football concerning strikes, then it would have to master the basics of American currency. And as the colonial commoners would say, “That ain’t going to happen. Hey, I’m walking here, you mook! Officer, please don’t shoot…”
An educated guess puts the hypothetical total at around three dollars. With superb timing, the latest stoppage threat was launched while the Barcelona vs Bayern Munich game was amply demonstrating that La Liga can still teach upstarts from foreign climes a thing or two about how to play football.
So naturally, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) decided to blow that good-news story out of the water with the announcement that the Spanish season will cease to exist from May 16th, wiping out the final two rounds of the league campaign in La Primera as well as the Copa del Rey final.
The reason for taking what many would class as rather dramatic action is a hissy fit from the (mis)governing body over Spanish parliament planning to pass a law requiring a more even split of the TV income in La Liga from the date of the next deal.
The RFEF has been “disrespected, brushed aside and ignored,” whined a statement which also noted hopefully that it is still up for talking things through with the government.
The Spanish League – already at loggerheads with the RFEF in a power-grab tug-of-war – announced that it would be taking legal action against the rival body.
Worrying as the threat sounds, the feeling is that this is just an enormous bluffing tantrum by RFEF head Angel María Villar, who has been in the role for 26 years and sometimes likes to put on his big-boy trousers and hurl his milkshake around. To this end, Marca have relegated the story to page 28 of Thursday’s edition. An editorial praises the work of Villar but warns that he is now “confusing the Federation and Spanish football with his living room… It’s a signal to the world that to show who is in charge here”.
Should a suspension take place, bedlam would ensue with clubs squabbling to claim that they got into Europe, avoided relegation, won the league, etc and so on, all based on what happened in what would be the final round of La Liga, this weekend. The only club likely to be happy are Getafe, who wouldn’t have to go through the efforts of a late survival battle.
The story has taken a little bit of the gloss off a truly remarkable performance by Leo Messi in the Camp Nou, with Twitter exploding after his Boateng-bum-drop and causing the world to be divided once again into Team Ronaldo / Team Leo camps. “A legendary match that will go down in history,” was the enthusiastic opinion of Mundo Deportivo’s Josep Maria Artells. “The best coach in the world eclipsed by the best player in the world,” noted Sport’s Joan Vehils.
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The Catalan reaction was certainly chirpier that the capital-city reception to Real Madrid’s 2-1 defeat to Juventus the previous night, with all manner of scapegoats from the full-backs to Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos for a result that could have been a heck of a lot worse. Or better, to be fair, had James Rodríguez not ballooned an effort over the bar. While Barcelona look a shoo-in to progress in Munich – barring any ‘Porto’ moments – Madrid’s ambitions are hanging by a thread. At least if they did get through, the club might have quite a long time to prepare for a Berlin final against Barcelona – and all thanks to Spain’s game-running clowns.