LFP calls meeting to discuss TV rights dispute

The Spanish football league (LFP) has called an emergency meeting of first and second division clubs to try to resolve a dispute over television rights and other issues that threatens to delay the start of the season.

Thirteen first division clubs have said they will postpone the season opening on the weekend of August 18/19 unless broadcasters Canal+ and Mediapro put aside their differences.

Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid, Real Betis, Celta Vigo, Espanyol, Getafe, Granada, Real Mallorca, Osasuna, Rayo Vallecano, Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Real Zaragoza have also made several other demands, including a "transparent and regulated" system for fixing kick-off times.

They are unhappy with the LFP management, accusing it of helping some clubs with favourable kick-off times that disadvantage others.

The LFP said in a statement on its website on Friday that there would be an extraordinary general assembly of the 42 clubs in the top two divisions on Tuesday August 14 at 10:30am. local time to try to find a solution.

In a joint statement on last Tuesday, the 13 clubs complained of "a situation of serious legal insecurity" after the highly complex dispute between Canal+ and Mediapro escalated last month.

The clubs called on broadcasters to settle any outstanding debts with the clubs and to drop any legal demands against them.

Spain's state secretary for sport, Miguel Cardenal, told As daily on Friday he was optimistic a solution could be found that would allow La Liga to begin on schedule.

"I am perfectly well informed about what is going on between the clubs, the LFP and the broadcasters and I would not be so pessimistic," Cardenal said.

"I know it will be very difficult to reach an agreement... but in my estimation it will be possible to come to an understanding with the broadcasters."

Many of the 13 clubs are also unhappy with the way Real Madrid and Barcelona dominate revenue from audiovisual rights due to the lack of a system of collective bargaining and income sharing like those used in rival European leagues.