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La Liga season delayed; players go on strike
AP, August 19th, 2011 6:11PM

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A conflict about wages, as Spanish league players look for guarantees with clubs owing up to $72 million in unpaid salaries to more than 200 players, has resulted in a strike by the Association of Spanish Players (AFE) that will prevent La Liga from kicking off its season this weekend.

League officials and player representatives failed on a last-minute deal on Friday and Spanish players representing all 42 teams in the top two divisions backed the first work stoppage in 27 years.

The Spanish league -- home to top players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo -- may start in September after the AFE pledged to boycott the first two rounds because of labor conflict.

Spain's bankruptcy law is also a problem as it allows insolvent clubs to re-negotiate or delay paying player salaries -- just like other outstanding debts -- while under bankruptcy protection. Spanish legislation expected to pass through parliament next month would relegate any insolvent club into the third division, although that wouldn’t go into effect until the end of this season. There are six top-flight clubs and a number of second-division clubs in bankruptcy protection.

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