Players' union demand holiday fixture rethink

MADRID - Spain's football players' union (AFE) and the professional league (LFP) have failed to resolve a dispute over the La Liga schedule for January 2, raising the prospect that some matches could be postponed.

The union is unhappy that kick-off times for the five games are spread out between 4pm (1500 GMT) and 10pm local time on a day that is typically a holiday.

They want all five, including Barcelona against Levante and Valencia against Espanyol, to start at 5pm. The other five matchday 17 games are scheduled for January 3.

"We are already compromising by playing on a holiday," AFE president Luis Rubiales told reporters after a meeting with LFP officials in Madrid. "The schedule they have imposed has annoyed a lot of colleagues."

Playing all five matches at 5pm. on January 2 would probably create problems for the LFP to fulfil its obligations to television companies holding audiovisual rights.

Rubiales said he had spoken to almost all the La Liga club captains and had also been in touch with Jaime Lissavetzky, the secretary of state for sport.

"I know that our position is backed by convention and the rules," he added. "That's why I am fully relaxed and the league can act as it sees fit."

There was no immediate comment available from La Liga officials on Wednesday.