Barcelona, La Liga, Real Madrid

Labor dispute threatens La Liga fixtures

Spain‘s football players’ union (AFE) has said it will take the professional league to court over a dispute about the La Liga schedule for January 2, increasing the likelihood some matches could be postponed.

The union said in a statement on Monday on its website it would start proceedings at a Madrid labour court on Wednesday. It is unhappy that kickoff times for the five January 2 games are spread out between 4pm (1500 GMT) and 10pm local time on a day that is typically a holiday for its members. The other five matchday 17 games are scheduled for January 3.

“The court proceedings are directed towards the possibility of provisionally suspending the January 2 matches… in a way that will not affect the matches scheduled for January 3,” the statement said, adding the union was open to playing all 10 fixtures on January 3.

The AFE said last week it wanted all five January 2 games, including Barcelona versus Levante and Valencia against Espanyol, to start at 5 pm. However, playing all five matches at the same time would create problems for the LFP to fulfil its obligations to television companies holding audiovisual rights and the league has so far refused to change the schedule.