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Breaking News: Strike! Spanish Footballers Association (AFE) Announces a Strike for the First and Second Liga Matches

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via marca.com

Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Footballers Association (AFE), announced a general labor stoppage for the first two weeks of games in the Liga BBVA and the Liga Adelante (Segunda) because the players have not been able to reach an agreement with the Liga's governing body, the LFP (Liga de Fútbol Profesional) about contract conditions.

At the center of this dispute is the player's desire for a larger emergency fund to pay players whose teams are in financial administration. "We have come together to say enough! We are unanimous and firm in our decision to call a strike. The league will not start until a new agreement [between the league and the players] has been signed," Rubiales said.

He denounced the LFP's August 3rd decision to create a fund to guarantee salary debts to players through the 2015 season as "unilateral," and "insufficient to cover this years' debts, and those that will come later." He continued:

"We don't just want reactive measures or programs. We have proposed measures, like the ones that exist in Germany, England or Holland, that are preventative. In those countries, clubs that can't pay can't compete. We have asked that players who are owed more than three months of payment have the right to break their contracts, and it seemed like we had come to an agreement, but they [the LFP] pushed it aside." Source: AS.com (translation mine).

Real Madrid and Spain Captain Iker Casillas was one of the champions of this move, saying that he can "promise that there won't be any football until we've reached a compromise."

"I fervently believe that we have to maintain solidarity with the people that are going through a rough time, the numbers are there. Luis (Rubiales) speaks for all of us, and we're all behind him hasta la muerte."

Other important figures from "the big clubs" were in attendance as well, with Carles Puyol and Xabi Alonso both crusading alongside the less fortunate members of the AFE (that is, alongside other workers who, in some cases, haven't been paid in months).

I have to say, and editorialize a bit here, that the situation in Spanish soccer is terrible. The financial situation of most teams is a wreck, and the division of the TV contract pie is inexcusable. Even though we're Real Madrid fans, we should support a much more equal distribution of income so that we can enjoy and maintain a healthy Liga. Consider this me expressing my solidarity with the players who won't stand by and watch this happen any more: they're not asking for more money--they're only asking that their contracts are honored. And really, it's the least we can do.

(Oh, and for you soulless people who don't care about the workers, there will still be a Supercopa. And I'm just kidding about the whole soulless thing. Sorta.)