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Europa League round of 16 draw

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By ESPN Staff

Unpaid players struggling to focus at crisis-hit Levante

MADRID, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Levante's problems in paying their players are making it hard for them to focus on their job, according to leading striker Riga.

'It is very difficult to concentrate on playing football when you aren't being paid,' the Ghanaian-born player was quoted as saying in sports daily Marca on Thursday.

'Every week there are new problems and that prevents us from performing at 100 percent... I'm tired of receiving calls from the bank. All of us have families and we need the money.'

Levante have run into financial problems because of increased expenses, lower than expected television revenues and bureaucratic delays to a plan to raise funds by selling their city-centre stadium.

As a result the Valencia-based club has fallen behind on its payments to players and staff, some of whom have denounced the club to the Spanish Players Union (AFE).

Levante were granted a 4-million euro ($5.82 million) guarantee by the local council last week in order to secure a bank loan to tide them over and settle some of their debts.

The club sacked coach Abel Resino in October after a poor start to the season, but they remain bottom of the Primera Liga with seven points from 14 matches.