AFE and LFP grow further apart as threat of fifth La Liga strike in history grows

The decision to a call a player´s strike for the first two weekends of the 2011/12 Primera Division is the culmination of months of unproductive dialogue between the Spanish Footballers´ Association (AFE) and the Spanish League (LFP) concerning a number of issues. Chief of these are money owed to players in unpaid wages, image rights, the football pools, and whether or not clubs should pay player´s wages whilst they are away on international duty.

Nonetheless, this week´s discussions have seen the two sides grow even further apart, following the league´s August 3 approval of a guaranteed social fund to cover any unpaid wages until 2015, a measure AFE President Luis Rubiales deems “insufficient to deal with this year´s debts and those generated later.” According to the players, the number affected by non-payment last season rose from 100 to 200 and the amount owed increased from €12m to €50m.

It is thought that for the 2010/11 season La Primera clubs were assured an estimated fund of €7m, guaranteeing €280,000 per player, with clubs in La Segunda able to count on €3m and €120,000 per footballer. However, from the 2011/12 season until the 2014/15 season there will be only €6m available for top-flight clubs (€240,000 per player) and €3m for those in the second division (€120,000 per player). With an estimated €22m worth of wages owed last term, added to €20m from the previous year, the AFE are seeking to adopt the system used in other major European leagues such as Germany, England and Holland, where clubs unable to meet their obligations to players are not allowed to compete.

Rubiales, who has asked the LFP to permit those who have not been paid for three months to be allowed to break their contract, also recalled that last January the league condemned the collective agreement made by the AFE on image rights, the social fund and television money. Another sticking point for Rubiales is that the league has informed him the fund could possibly cease if Congress decides to change the Bankruptcy Law, a process already underway which could come into effect as early as September. There is also the matter of the Spanish football pools, from which the league receives 10% of total revenue, money which the AFE claims could go towards making up the shortfall in player´s wages.

Professional footballers attending Thursday´s meeting of the AFE, such as former H

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