Seven thousand suits to see Spain in yet another finger-flip to football fans
With no definitive answer given as to whether or not next weekend's Primera matches will be called off thanks to a strike, the fact the fixtures have now been assigned referees is at least some progress.
It will certainly be of great help to supporters who still donÃ¢ÂÂt know if their teams' matches will take place and if they do, on which day the games will kick-off. However, they do now know which busy-body, card-happy official will be ruining each game, should they actually go ahead. And thatÃ¢ÂÂs crucial...
Then again, all this is no real surprise as football supporters would be delighted to even be treated with disdain or perhaps a tiny bit of contempt by those in charge of the Spanish game. That would at least suggest a smidgen of acknowledgement.
The complete lack of concern for the interests of fans was shown quite clearly during a debate on the proposed Ã¢ÂÂstoppageÃ¢ÂÂ - the Spanish League (LFP) get all flustered if you call it a Ã¢ÂÂstrikeÃ¢ÂÂ - on Spanish radio station, Cadena Ser, who had gathered together representatives of the league, government, clubs and players but without a single voice to speak on behalf of the supporters. Heck, the disruption it would cause the fans wasnÃ¢ÂÂt even mentioned once.
As per LLL's Wednesday rant, the situation remains unchanged in that there will be no football next weekend, as the LFP want the government to scrap a law from 1997 that allows one match per weekend to be broadcast for free.
The government Ã¢ÂÂs response is that this is a teenie bit cheeky, with Secretary of Sport Jaime Lissavetsky pointing out that Spanish football clubs owe the tax man nearly Ã¢ÂÂ¬700 million and that the government have been very lenient about collecting it.
The response from the LFP is that if each week's Ã¢ÂÂfreeÃ¢ÂÂ televised game is switched to Pay Per View, this money will suddenly be paid back - which is complete nonsense really. But then again, nothing else should be expected from the LFP which, at least according to Villarreal vice president JosÃÂ© Manuel Llaneza, is Ã¢ÂÂin the hands of people whose aim is to make themselves rich.Ã¢ÂÂ
LlanezaÃ¢ÂÂs club is still one of six leading the charge to prevent the strike from going ahead and is challenging the stoppage in the courts. ItÃ¢ÂÂs with good reason too, as if the strike goes ahead VillarrealÃ¢ÂÂs clash with Barcelona will take place on Saturday April 9th, just two days after the teamÃ¢ÂÂs Europa League game against FC Twente. No real wonder then, that BarÃÂ§a are quite happy for the stoppage to occur.
The whole sorry mess was perhaps best summed up by Real Sociedad boss MartÃÂn Lasarte who observed that Ã¢ÂÂthe organisation of the Spanish League is like that of a third world country.Ã¢ÂÂ
Further proof of this lament came with the news that no action will be taken against AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid in response to the racist abuse of Marcelo and Lassana Diarra in SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs derby at the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n. The FAÃ¢ÂÂs 'Anti-Violence Commission' was unable to act as the incidents didnÃ¢ÂÂt appear in either the refereeÃ¢ÂÂs report or that of the security co-ordinator, therefore nothing officially happened.
But that's not the end of the incompetence and downright grubbiness in the Spanish game. The national team's match with the Czech Republic on Friday is to be played in Granada, a perfectly lovely place to see a game of football and spend an evening, but perhaps not the best venue for a high-profile game considering the Estadio Nuevo Los CÃÂ¡rmenes holds just under 17,000, with 7,000 of those seats being occupied by the backsides of the FA, their buddies and sponsors.
One thing LLL can be quite sure of is that someone, somewhere high up the food chain in Spanish football is going to benefit from the decision to host the World Cup winners in a minuscule stadium and once again, itÃ¢ÂÂs a big Ã¢ÂÂup yoursÃ¢ÂÂ to the football fan in the process.