Spain's domestic season is in danger of being delayed as the players association representing 110 professionals including Carles Puyol and Iker Casillas have called for a strike after an agreement on collective bargaining failed to materialize. Luis Rubiales of the AFE, the players association issued this sharp rebuke.
"The players have come together and we've said enough is enough already."
At issue are payment of salaries owed to the players. Clubs like Rayo Vallecano have not paid their players in months and things came to a head earlier this year when the players almost boycotted their match against Real Valladolid in protest. Royston Drenthe the onetime darling of relegated Hercules was not paid for five months after his loan move to that club from Real Madrid.
" We don't want more money, we want the clubs to honour the contracts they sign with their players. We don't want palliative measures. We have put forward proposals which exist in Holland, Germany, France and England which are preventative"
So far the AFE has kept their focus on the 3rd and 4th tier clubs who have been the major defaulters but this strike indicates that the financial contagion that has infected the top two divisions is now too difficult to ignore. It's not just clubs facing bankruptcy but the threat to the livelihood of the players they employ. Footballers from these divisions are owed €50m in unpaid wages but Spain's football league association, the LFP, are only willing to guarantee €7m of that.
The financial troubles besetting the Spain's leagues dovetail with a fragile economy that is now the subject of EU intervention.