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Mar 30, 2011

Clubs win appeal against strike

La Liga will go ahead as planned this weekend after a Madrid court ruled in favour of the clubs seeking to call off a strike.

Hunter: Strike won't solve big issue

The Liga Nacional de Futbol Profesional (LFP) had suspended the fixtures in the Primera Division this weekend due to a row over television rights to games, with a majority of clubs unhappy with the law that states that one match per round of fixtures must be shown on free-to-air television.

Those clubs had been eager to maximise revenue from pay TV channels, and had hoped that a strike would pressurise the Spanish government into changing the law.

However, six clubs - Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Real Zaragoza, Espanyol, Sevilla and Villarreal - had appealed against the proposed strike action and, on Wednesday morning, a court ruled in their favour.

A statement from the court read: "The court decides the official calendar for the first and second divisions should remain unaltered for the next round of matches."

Judge Purificacion Pujol added: "The league calendar cannot be changed."

The LFP accepted the judge's ruling but said: "Despite the internal discrepancies within the LFP over the measures adopted at the assembly on February 11, all the clubs that make up the league continue to press their demands on the government.

"From now on, a new road map will be established that will allow us to unlock the talks in our search for solutions to the grievances of professional football compared to other sectors of the Spanish economy."

Villarreal general manager Jose Manuel Llaneza is convinced the outcome will be to the benefit of the game.

"The strike would have been a stab in the heart of football," he told Radio Marca. "Football only sells hope and, if we kill people's illusions, we will kill football."

He added: "There are no winners or losers. The big winner is football."

Atletico Madrid did not appeal the decision, but club president Enrique Cerezo said the strike would have been a "nonsense" and added in Marca: "I sensed that the games were going to be played. Imagine what would have happened. Luckily, everything has been solved."

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