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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
By ESPN Staff

Lyon face Sedan in French Cup semi-finals

MADRID, April 17 (Reuters) - The players of Primera Liga strugglers Levante said on Thursday they would go on strike if the club do not meet a deadline to resolve the payment of debts owed to the squad.

'We have worked honourably and fought hard for a long time and have reached a unanimous decision that if there is no solution before the Recreativo Huelva game we will go on strike that weekend,' defender Luis Rubiales, speaking for the squad, told a news conference.

'We recognise that this decision has an adverse effect on many people, but we are the ones who are really suffering. We know we have the fans' support.'

The Valencia-based club are 15 points from safety at the foot of the standings with six games to go and scheduled to play Recreativo, who are only just above the relegation zone, away on the weekend of April 26-27.

It is not the first time the players have threatened action over the debts this season. The club planned to raise money by selling their city-centre stadium but have run in to delays that have yet to be resolved.

A bank loan that the club said the city council had promised to guarantee, to help tide them over, has not been forthcoming.

The statement from the players overshadowed the presentation of new coach Jose Angel Moreno, who has been promoted to take charge until the end of the season following the departure of Giovanni De Biasi to Torino on Wednesday.

'We are in a very difficult situation in sporting and financial terms and this has affected the squad,' Moreno said.

'The best thing we can do is to fight on with dignity as we have done up to now.'

Moreno's first game is at home to King's Cup finalists Getafe on Sunday (1500 GMT).