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Six of Spain's top-flight clubs have broken ranks and filed a legal challenge aimed at stopping the professional soccer league (LFP) from postponing a round of matches next month over a dispute with the government.
The LFP wants Spain's Socialist administration to scrap a rule that one La Liga game per matchday should be shown on free television, arguing the move would strengthen clubs' bargaining power in negotiations on audiovisual rights with media firms.
It also wants guarantees about how much cash it is entitled to receive from betting and lottery revenue.
The league, which represents first and second division clubs, has the backing of the Spanish football federation (RFEF) but six of 20 clubs in the first division -- Sevilla, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao, Espanyol, Real Zaragoza and Real Sociedad -- filed a legal challenge in a Madrid court on Wednesday in an attempt to block the postponement.
The six oppose the LFP because they believe a strike would be "disproportionate, innoportune, against the interest of clubs, the competition and supporters and, what's more, against the law," Sevilla said on their website (www.sevillafc.es).
"It's not the right moment, politically speaking, to make these demands and, what's more, it should not be the fans who pay the price," Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido was quoted as saying in local media.
On the weekend under threat, April 2/3, Sevilla are due to host Zaragoza, while La Liga leaders Barcelona play at Villarreal and second-placed Real Madrid host Sporting Gijon.
The LFP said on Tuesday the latest talks between league officials, the government and parliamentary groups had failed to produce any progress and it stood by its decision to strike.
The league has said the free game will not necessarily be dropped but it wants the obligation to show it to be removed.
An LFP spokesman said on Wednesday it respected the position of each of its members but would stick to the decision taken at a meeting last month to postpone games unless the government backs down.
Jaime Lissavetzky, secretary of state for sport, appealed for "common sense" and noted a television media law had been voted through a year ago without any of the political groups raising objections.
Speaking at an event in Madrid on Wednesday, he indicated he was "ready to listen and talk" to try to resolve the dispute.
Villarreal president Fernando Roig expressed support for the league's bid to get the free TV rule lifted but said a strike was the wrong way to go about it, especially at a time when the Spanish economy was struggling.
"It is not a good thing given what this country is going through at the moment for management to go on strike," Roig said on the club's website (www.villarrealcf.es).
"I agree that the best way forward is through dialogue," he added. "I do not agree that the right path is a postponement."
According to Sevilla and Villarreal, if the April 2/3 games are postponed, they would be played on June 11/12, three weeks after the scheduled end of the season.
"If that happens I believe the final weeks of the league will be an authentic disaster," Roig said. "It seems to me a monstrosity and something that would cause a great deal of damage to the competition."
Aaron Ramsey named captain for Euro 2012 qualifier but Gareth Bale ruled out with injury
The 20 year-old has not played for his country in 16 months after an horrific double leg fracture against Stoke.
The vacancy for a new captain arose after Craig Bellamy asked not to be considered due to a long-term knee complaint that will prevent him playing every game.
James Collins, of Aston Villa, and Swansea's Ashley Williams were expected to be the main contenders for the captain's armband but Wales manager Gary Speed has confessed that Ramsey will now hold the post long-term.
Speed said: "I thought about it a lot and spoke to Ramsey before making the decision.
"It carries with it a lot of responsibility and duties but on and off the pitch everyone looks up to him and are confident it is the right decision."
Wales, meanwhile, have taken steps to stress that they were not accusing Tottenham of being "incompetent amateurs" after Bale was forced to pull out of Saturday's international against England.
Bale has been unable to train since reporting for duty in Cardiff and scans last night confirmed he had suffered a hamstring injury before the weekend.
Some reports, though, suggested Bale picked up the knock during training yesterday and Raymond Verheijen, Wales' assistant manager, was furious, responding with the "incompetent amateurs" rant on his Twitter page.
However, to clarify, the Dutchman later added: “Just spoken with the people at Spurs as they thought ‘incompetent amateurs’ had something to do with them. ‘Incompetent amateurs’ are the people who put in the news that Gareth Bale got injured in training with Wales while he did not train at all.
“The ‘breaking news’ this morning about Gareth’s hamstring injury made us look like a bunch of amateurs. We had to protect ourselves.”
Soooo happy for Aaron but fuckkkkkk nooo Gareth :'(
Denmark v England
Ukraine v Iceland
Belgium v Scotland
Hungary v Austria
France v Spain
Italy v Sweden
Cuba v El Salvador
Group 2 - Oriente Petrolero v Leon de Huanuco
Group 4 - Velez Sarsfield v Union Espanola
streams: firstrowsports rojadirecta atdhe LiveFootballTVs footballstreaming myp2
time zone converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/cgi-bin/t zc.tzc
(I only have bb Spain gifs - I see your shocked faces - but if anyone has gifs of other any of the other bb teams then throw them my way and I can use them in future)
This is a Republic of Ireland postMy second favourite NT deserves its own post. (well technically they're my favourite as I don't have any feelings of hatred towards Ireland like I frequently do towards England. I have a kind of "love the way you lie" type abusive relationship with my blood NT, England. But ANYWAY. Ireland!)
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Unfortunately I can't find any non-watermarked training pics of the Ireland NT, but, lettuce be honest... Kilbane, Dunne... this isn't a team I watch for the eye candy. :-p
But yeah, come on Ireland!!! I'll end with a Shay Given quote about the Macedonia game: “The country is in safe hands. I have been very impressed by him since he has come into the squad. Clubs will be looking at him in the summer as I believe his contract is up and no disrespect to Coventry, but he can move to a bigger club. The whole country will be behind him and the team on Saturday. We have got to win and get three points if we are realistic about qualifying. It’s been too long since we were at a major finals. The nation needs a pick-up and the best way of doing that is by qualifying. We have a realistic chance, but it will be tough. Worst-case scenario, we make the play-off and get a favourable draw.” Given himself is out due to injury, but, preach bb!
Aaaaaand, I was kind of hoping to avoid mentioning England at all in an Ireland post, but, Crouchie, I knew there was a reason why I loved you. ;)
It is so cute
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