Players' union set for court over schedule

MADRID - Spain's football players' union (AFE) has said it will take the professional league (LFP) to court over a dispute about the La Liga schedule for January 2, increasing the likelihood some matches could be postponed.

The union said in a statement on Monday on its website it would start proceedings at a Madrid labour court on Wednesday.

It is unhappy that kick-off times for the five January 2 games are spread out between 4pm (1500 GMT) and 10pm local time on a day that is typically a holiday for its members. The other five matchday 17 games are scheduled for January 3.

"The court proceedings are directed towards the possibility of provisionally suspending the January 2 matches... in a way that will not affect the matches scheduled for January 3," the statement said, adding the union was open to playing all 10 fixtures on January 3.

The AFE said last week it wanted all five January 2 games, including Barcelona versus Levante and Valencia against Espanyol, to start at 5pm.

However, playing all five matches at the same time would create problems for the LFP to fulfil its obligations to television companies holding audiovisual rights and the league has so far refused to change the schedule.

LFP officials were not immediately available for comment on Monday.

The AFE added it was ready at any time for further talks with the LFP to find a solution to the dispute which it said it had been trying to do since May.