Spanish Football players
Game on! The courts have stopped the strike and the football goes ahead. Everything's sorted, then?
Not exactly. For now, yes, and it may well be that the challenge has effectively been killed off for good, with the Spanish league (LFP) emerging as the winner and stronger than ever before. But there are still be issues to work through, the conflict may not be over, and the damage may be lasting. Or it could be that we're heading into a new era in which the balance of power has decisively shifted towards the league and its president Javier Tebas, with the consequences of that yet to be seen.
But let's take this one step at a time.
The final two weeks of the season will go ahead. There is no strike. But the judge didn't actually rule that the strike called by the players' union (the AFE) was illegal. And it is worth posing a broader question here: while everyone celebrates the football going ahead, should we celebrate a union being denied its right to strike?
What the judge did was suspend the strike, pending a full hearing on June 17 (after the season has ended). He granted what's known as the cautelar: the strike has been put on hold. In practical terms, that ends it (for now) and the season can be completed as planned. It might even mean that it's finished for good. But it does not definitively mean that, legally, the league have been found to be right. The LFP have deposited 5 million euros ready as compensation should the players' union ultimately win the case.
So why was the strike called in the first place? And why now?
Because of the introduction of the new law, the Real Decreto-ley 5/2015, which came into force on April 30 and went before congress this week. The players' union called a strike and the federation (the RFEF), which runs the divisions below the first and second divisions and controls the country's referees, backed it by announcing an "indefinite stoppage." Any attempt to alter or halt it thus had to be made immediately.La Liga president Javier Tebas is the big winner in this latest public battle with the players and Spanish federation.
The decree: that's the law that means that TV rights will now be sold collectively, right?
Right. But it's much more than that. And this is where it gets complicated. The decree, put together by the CSD, Spain's sports council (effectively the ministry for sport) with the league, can almost be seen as a new constitution for Spanish football. It could also be seen as an attempt at shifting the balance of power and laying down new rules for the future.
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