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La Liga players' strike threatens opening weekend
Yahoo! Sports, August 18th, 2011 12:15PM
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[EUROPE]

Spanish players are resolute that they will begin a strike on Friday for the first time in 27 years if a last-ditch negotiation does not produce common ground. Discussions between the Association of Spanish Soccer Players (AFE) and Spanish league officials have not produced an agreement. The two sides are scheduled to meet again Friday, the day before the season opens.

“I think Spanish soccer could learn quite a bit from English soccer in this case,” said midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who just transferred from Arsenal to Barcelona.  “In England, the management is so well organized all we do is just play soccer.”

According to the players, more than 200 of them are owed up to $72 million in unpaid salaries and they want contract guarantees written into a new collective bargaining agreement. Under Spain’s bankruptcy law, insolvent clubs can re-negotiate or defer paying player salaries -- just like other outstanding debts --while under bankruptcy protection.

Legislation is already making its way through the Spanish parliament that would drop clubs to the third division if they become insolvent. Similar punishments have been applied to clubs in many leagues around the world. But the Spanish regulations, if they pass into law, don't take effect until the end of the season. Six La Liga clubs and many in the second division are in bankruptcy protection.

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