Why a strike could force the Spanish season to run deep into June
ItÃ¢ÂÂs as if the head of the Spanish league woke up one morning and thought, Ã¢ÂÂHey! La Liga already has a well-deserved reputation for being run by a cretinous bunch of feckless, incompetent, douche-nozzles, but I donÃ¢ÂÂt think weÃ¢ÂÂve really tried hard enough in recent times to be truly inept.Ã¢ÂÂ
Well, the president of the LFP, JosÃÂ© Luis AstiazarÃÂ¡n is certainly looking to right that wrong by calling for a suspension of the round of matches scheduled for the weekend of April 2 and 3 - a stoppage that would see la Primera finishing the season on 11th June, some three weeks later than planned.
The root cause of the LFP taking such dramatic, not to mention ludicrous, action is cash - and it is supported by the Spanish FA. The Spanish League want the government to end the legal requirement of one game a week being broadcast for free to punters, a move that would supposedly bring in more income to the leagueÃ¢ÂÂs coffers. The LFP also want the government to allow them a bigger share in betting and lottery revenue.
In what is fundamentally a self-serving cause, the LFP and RFEF appear quite willing to ruin the SpainÃ¢ÂÂs end of season run-in which is shaping up to be a stormer as well as cause carnage to the plans of the countryÃ¢ÂÂs football fans.
Then again, this is hardly abnormal behaviour from organisations that oversee a competition which only two teams can win, along with a Copa del Rey designed to weed out smaller sides from the off.
And thatÃ¢ÂÂs not even mentioning the pair consistently ignoring evidence that matches are fixed; tolerating financially insolvent clubs that canÃ¢ÂÂt pay their players; overseeing a laughably lax drugs-testing process, overlooking the racist abuse of footballers - as happened in the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n on Saturday, and being incapable of scheduling football matches more than one week in advance.
AstiazarÃÂ¡n threatens that, unless there are Ã¢ÂÂsignificant advancesÃ¢ÂÂ in talks with the government, the weekend in question will be postponed with the calendar being shifted along seven days - a giant middle finger to supporters in Spain and from other countries who may already have made travel plans to see their teams. This includes some 2000 Sporting fans who still donÃ¢ÂÂt know if their clash with Real Madrid next weekend will take place on Friday or Saturday.
The knock-on effect of the move will see fixture chaos. La Primera is currently scheduled to end on the 22nd May, a week before the Champions League final. If neither Real Madrid or Barcelona are in that final then the last round of matches will have to be pushed back to the 11th June as there are international matches taking place before that.
Villarreal, MÃÂ¡laga, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Sevilla, Zaragoza and Espanyol are the seven clubs that have come out against the proposal lead by the LFP but failed to overturn the leagueÃ¢ÂÂs decision to strike in the most recent meeting held to discuss the issue.
Ã¢ÂÂIt will be a disaster,Ã¢ÂÂ said a dismayed Fernando Roig, president of Villarreal, who claimed that he would do everything to make sure their clash against Barcelona still goes ahead despite the official strike. Ã¢ÂÂWe will ask for a referee and a kick-off time. WeÃ¢ÂÂre not going to do something crazy but we will if all other possibilities run out.Ã¢ÂÂ
Roig's stance was supported by Real Sociedad president, Jokin Aperribay, who promised that "La Real will not strike, we'll wait until they fix the date and time and come to Anoeta to play."
The single positive sign in another depressing episode for the game in Spain is that there are some people involved in the sport who are still in possession of all their faculties. The trouble is that those who are most important seem to have already lost theirs some time ago.