Players threaten strike over La Liga US match

President of players union hits out at decision-based only on ‘money and business’

Spain’s footballer’s union threatened on Wednesday to strike over controversial plans to play a La Liga match in the United States, blasting a decision based only on “money and business”.

“We are tired of these unilateral decisions that directly affect the players like this plan of playing outside Spain,” said David Aganzo, the president of the players union (AFE) after a meeting attended by a host of stars including Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets.

Spain’s La Liga announced last Thursday that they planned to stage a match in North America as part of an expansion drive.

The teams and the venue were not disclosed but El Pais newspaper said the match would take place over the coming 2018-19 season and would probably feature either Barcelona or Real Madrid as one of the teams.

Aganzo said Wednesday that the AFE planned to meet La Liga chiefs in September to try and convince officials to give up on the plan.

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If not, at the “end of September or the beginning of October we will have to start acting,” said Aganzo adding the union was “prepared to go to the end”, evoking the possibility of a “strike”.

“We are used to seeing football played only for money and business,” added Aganzo who said Liga officials no longer take into account “the health and risk for the players”.

The national supporter’s federation (FASFE) has described the plan to move a match to the United States as an “aberration”.

La Liga earned 3.6 billion euros in revenues during the 2016-2017 season, nearly 40% of which came from TV rights and generated a pre-tax profit of 234 million euros.

For the 2017-2018 season, La Liga said it hoped to exceed for the first time the four-billion-euro mark in revenue.