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Page last updated at 22:52 GMT, Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Spanish league matches postponed because of TV dispute

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi are stars in Spain

The Spanish league season may end three weeks later than planned after the next round of matches was postponed because of a dispute over television revenue.

Clubs want a law, which says at least one game a week must be on terrestrial free-to-air television, to be revoked.

But on Wednesday the Liga de Futbol Professional (LFP) cited a "lack of progress" in talks with the Spanish government to resolve the problem.

They now say, as things stand, the games will be played on 12 June.

That date is three weeks after the league season is scheduled to end.

"The board of the LFP was informed of a lack of progress in the negotiations the league has initiated with the government, the Higher Sports Council and parliamentary groups involving a grievance with respect to other sectors," said a statement.

The main losers are the citizens and football players. I hope common sense prevails

Jaime Lissavetzky, Spain's secretary of state for sport

"Therefore, the LFP has upheld the decision taken at the last general assembly on 11 February, which agreed to postpone the round to be played on 3 April until there is a palpable evolution in dialogue."

The stoppage will affect Spain's first and second division, although not all clubs appear to support the move.

Reports in Spain say there may be further legal moves by clubs who want to play, with Marca newspaper reporting that six - Sevilla, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Espanyol and Zaragoza - have asked a court in Madrid to order the games to go ahead.

Spain's Secretary of State for Sport, Jaime Lissavetzky, also made "a call to reason" for games to be played.

"We've been sitting with the league and we have considered many things," he said.

"The main losers are the citizens and football players because the competition has been extended by about 20 days.

"I hope common sense prevails, and we maintain our readiness to defend the interests of citizens."

Reigning champions Barcelona lead the Spanish title race with rivals Real Madrid five points behind them with nine matches to go.

Barcelona's attacking Brazilian right-back Dani Alves has signed his new contract with the Catalan club, which contains a 150m euros buy-out clause and keeps him at the Nou Camp until 2015.

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see also
Buoyant Barca close in on title
11 Apr 10 |  Europe
Spanish League faces strike fears
05 Nov 09 |  Europe
Barca seal 23.5m deal for Alves
02 Jul 08 |  Europe

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