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La Liga start date still unknown as court delays decision

Madrid, AFP | Updated : 08 August 2019, 07:05 AM
The opening round of games also included two matches on Monday, August 19. (File Photo)
The opening round of games also included two matches on Monday, August 19. (File Photo)

The time and date of La Liga’s opening games of the season may not be decided until days before the first match kicks off, after a court postponed its decision on Wednesday. La Liga and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) are locked in another bitter dispute, with the RFEF trying to ban fixtures taking place on Friday and Monday nights this term. A commercial court in Madrid heard the case for over four hours on Wednesday but a decision may not be made until Friday or even Monday, four days before the league had been due to begin.

The division’s curtain-raiser was due to take place between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona at Bilbao’s San Mames stadium on Friday, August 16, as announced by La Liga at the start of last month.

The opening round of games also included two matches on Monday, August 19 when Mallorca were down to host Eibar, and Real Betis expected to play at home to Real Valladolid.

But RFEF president Luis Rubiales has claimed fixtures can only be played this season on Fridays and Mondays with the approval of the RFEF.

La Liga argues it has the authority to set the dates and times of the calendar and that removing Friday and Monday matches would put existing television deals in jeopardy.

“Broadcasters would begin to negotiate 30 per cent downwards,” warned Jaume Roures, the president of Mediapro, who was presented as a witness by La Liga.

“It would have very significant economic consequences,” Roures added.

The RFEF insisted the previous agreement with La Liga that allowed matches to be played on Friday and Monday expired in June.

The slots have proven controversial in Spain, where Friday and Monday games have attracted disappointing attendances and been reserved primarily for the league’s lower teams.

Alaves supporters protested during a Monday match against Levante in February. Some fans boycotted kick-off while others carried a black coffin around the stadium, to symbolise the death of Spanish football.

First Published: Thursday, August 08, 2019 07:04 AM

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