It looks like Saturday night’s “El Clásico” between Real Madrid and Barcelona will be the last major Spanish league game that we will be able to enjoy for a while, as the Wall Street Journal has reported that the as of next week players will be striking.
The strike affects the top four divisions of the league, the Primera, Segunda A, Segunda B and Tercera divisions. The AFE (Spanish Players Union) said that 85% of soccer players in Spain’s top three divisions either get paid late or not at all. It also says that the Spanish Football Federation still owes the union €8 million ($10.7 million).
In the US we are very used to hearing about strikes. Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL have all been effected fairly recently by strike shortened seasons. The difference though is that these strikes were related to potential future earnings, not money owed. While this strike pertains mostly to soccer players playing in the lower tiers of Spain’s professional soccer league, it is still quite disconcerting to see that owners of professional soccer clubs are unwilling or unable to pay players what was promised.
On the bright side, it is nice to see that the more financially secure and powerful players in “La Liga” are supporting the up and coming and/or less talented players in the lower divisions. Without the support of the Primera division players, this strike would surely be taken less seriously.
Sadly it also means that we may miss some games in one of the world’s top soccer leagues, let us hope that it is all resolved shortly.