Top-flight Spanish soccer will be suspended for the remainder of the season by the sport's domestic governing body, following clashes with the government over a new TV rights law.
The law, which would result in collective bargaining for TV rights, got the OK from Spain's government last week.
If approved by parliament, it would see the cash gained from TV rights shared out more equally across Spanish soccer's top two divisions in a bid to help smaller clubs. Rights are currently sold on an individual basis by clubs – a system which favors soccer behemoths like Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The Spanish federation of football (RFEF) and the players' union (AFE) have slammed the proposed changes, and suspended all domestic games from May 16. This will affect the last two matches of La Liga – Spain's top soccer league – and the domestic cup final, known as the Copa Del Rey, between Barcelona and Athletico Madrid at the end of the month.
The RFEF accused the government of showing a "lack of respect" in a statement Wednesday. It also complained about excess government interference in the sport and accused the government of using money from soccer in other, unrelated areas.
The suspension will affect 17 regional federations, over 600,000 players and 30,000 matches, the RFEF added.
But it has faced backlash from the professional football league (LFP), which runs the country's top soccer divisions, and said it would take legal action against the RFEF.
"The LFP expressly reserves the right to take legal action to claim for the serious damages as well as any financial, sporting, social or any other type of harm that may arise from today's decision by the RFEF," the LFP said in a statement on its website, adding that it had called an extraordinary meeting on May 11 with affiliated teams.
The Spanish government's sports council (CSD) defended the collective bargaining law in a statement on Wednesday, claiming it would improve the "economic condition" of players and clubs.