New Season, New Strike?

You may have heard about a players’ strike threatening the beginning of the season in Spain this year (finally found a basic overview in English here). Briefly, the issue is that the AFP (the players’ union) wants the LFP to create a fund that can be used to pay players when clubs become so financially strapped that they stop reimbursing the team. At first glance, this seems like a basically good idea (the fund, not necessarily the strike), but when I read about it I had a few questions and at this point I haven’t found the details necessary to create any informed opinions.

For one, if clubs are given support to pay players despite financial instability but there is no punishment in place for going deeply in debt, doesn’t this incentivize running to financial ruin on transfers or stadium construction? For another, wouldn’t it make more sense to put energy into somehow addressing the underlying problems of finance in La Liga? In other words, why are these teams becoming insolvent, and isn’t that larger issue much more important than patching up the dam with tiny bandages? It’s a more complicated issue than is immediately evident, is what I’m saying.

As one might expect, Del Nido has weighed in, and as one might also expect he is not in favor, saying the players’ union has made this heavy decision rashly, and that the strike is completely unjustified. He added that if the strike DOES go through, the players themselves will be the hardest hit, given that they are the greatest benefactors of professional football, and thus have the most to lose if things go poorly. He makes few more points about the players’ union being out of touch with the rest of society, and how the LFP has been trying to get a deal done but the players just wanted to strike, all that kind of stuff. He then of course mentioned that the underlying problem is the unequal sharing of TV revenue (I can totally imagine the Marca guy sent to cover the press conference rolling his eyes at this point), and that this inequality results in the current farce of a competition that is La Liga today, which in turn causes clubs to go further in debt just to compete, etc etc etc…at this point we know these lines well enough that we could all be his understudy and fill in for him on days when he’s sick (or in jail).

Anyway, we’ll obviously keep our eye on this potential delay to the start of the season. If anyone knows more, or has opinions or questions, fill up the old comment box. Let’s discuss!