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La Liga To Stagger Kickoff Times

This season’s third round of La Liga matches will be staggered over 10 different kick-off times, Spain’s Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP) said Tuesday.

Four matches will take place on Sept. 1, with five more the following day and Real Betis hosting Atletico Madrid on Sept. 3.

The weekend kicks off with Celta Vigo taking on Osasuna at 10 a.m. ET on the Saturday, followed by Real Zaragoza vs. Malaga, Deportivo La Coruna vs. Getafe and then Real Mallorca vs. Real Sociedad, kicking off at two-hour intervals.

Sevilla travels to Rayo Vallecano for a 6 a.m. ET kick-off to begin Sunday’s action, with Athletic Bilbao facing Real Valladolid at 10 a.m. ET and Levante against Espanyol two hours later.

Barcelona and Real Madrid are in action at home later that day, with Granada at the Bernabeu for a 1:50 p.m. ET kick-off and Valencia the visitors at the Nou Camp at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Monday’s clash at the Estadio Benito Villamarin gets under way at 3:30 p.m. ET.

The La Liga schedule drew controversy in Spain when it was revealed earlier this month. Fans in Spain were vocal in their opposition to the new kick-off time for some games, which is set for 11 p.m. in Spain (5 p.m. ET).

Manuel Pellegrini today said his Malaga side was treated unfairly after the club was allocated that slot for Saturday’s home game against Mallorca, ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League play-off clash with Panathinaikos.

“Unfortunately, the schedule is so strange to us because of television,” he said.

“We play on Saturday at 2300 hours (5 p.m. ET), will end at 1:30 a.m. (7:30 p.m. ET) and on Tuesday we play in the Champions League.

“Recovery is more complicated, let’s see if another Champions League team plays at 2300 on a Saturday, 48 hours before playing in the Champions League. We’ll see if Real Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia have the same treatment and play at that time,” said Pellegrini.

“I do not think there is any intent to harm Malaga, I just think unfortunately they did not take account of the Champions League game. The four teams are representing Spain and I think we must all have the same conditions.”