Spanish federation backs league in TV dispute

MADRID - The Spanish football federation (RFEF) has backed the country's professional league (LFP) in a dispute with the government over a rule that says one La Liga game per matchday must be shown on television for free.

The LFP, which represents first and second division clubs, has threatened to postpone games on the weekend of April 2/3 if Spain's Socialist administration does not agree to scrap the rule for the start of the 2012/13 season.

Without the obligation to show a free match the league believes clubs would be in a stronger position to negotiate the sale of audiovisual rights to television companies.

It also wants guarantees about how much cash clubs are entitled to receive from betting and lottery revenue.

After a meeting on Tuesday, the RFEF said in a statement its board unanimously supported the LFP and noted that none of Spain's European neighbours had a similar rule on showing a match for free.

"The RFEF board urges the politicians responsible to respond favourably to the wishes of the professional clubs," the statement added.

On the weekend in question, Barcelona are scheduled to visit Villarreal while Real Madrid are due to host Sporting Gijon.

Talks between the LFP and the government are continuing, the LFP said in a statement on Tuesday.