Spanish domestic football to be suspended

Barcelona-Real Madrid match. Photo: 22 March 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption All matches would be suspended from 16 May indefinitely, the Spanish football federation says

The Spanish football federation says it is suspending indefinitely all end-of-season games in disputes with the government, including over TV rights.

A federation statement said it was also unhappy with receiving only 4.55% of pools revenue, though it said it was still open to dialogue.

All matches will be suspended from 16 May, including the domestic cup final.

In the top division, Barcelona lead La Liga rivals Real Madrid by two points, with only three games left to play.

In the statement, the RFEF federation said it had acted after three months of talks with the government had failed to resolve the dispute.

It said more than 600,000 players and 30,000 matches across the country would be affected by the suspension.

'Players unhappy'

However, it also stressed: "At the same time, and yet again, we reiterate the offer of dialogue to the Spanish government."

The RFEF acted after the government last week approved a new law on collective bargaining for TV rights.

The law - which still needs to be approved by parliament - aims to regulate the rights to broadcast matches in Spain's first and second divisions.

The government has so far made no public comment on the federation's statement.

"The initial assumption is that this move has been taken in an attempt to head off a players' strike which had been threatened for that weekend," said Andy West, a Spanish football expert.

"Players are unhappy with some terms of the deal, including the low percentage of revenue on offer to lower league clubs.

"The issue of TV rights is a long-running one with most people recognising that Barca and Real receive far too much at the moment. Realigning it is not easy though," Mr West added.

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