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Page last updated at 09:27 GMT, Wednesday, 30 March 2011 10:27 UK

Madrid court bars Spanish football league strike

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo will now be in action for Real Madrid on Saturday

Spain's league programme will go ahead as planned this weekend after a Madrid court upheld a challenge by six clubs against a proposed strike.

The country's professional league had called for a walk-out in protest over a rule that states one match per week must be shown for free on television.

But clubs including Sevilla and Villarreal mounted a legal challenge against the proposal.

The strike would have meant the Spanish season being extended by three weeks.

But the court's ruling means Real Madrid will now face Sporting Gijon on Saturday, three days before their Champions League quarter-final first-leg meeting with Tottenham.

Spain's Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP) announced its intention to strike in February as it sought to get the 1997 broadcasting law revoked.

A strike would be disproportionate, inopportune, against the interest of clubs, the competition and supporters and, what's more, against the law

Statement from clubs opposing strike action

The league argued that removing the obligation to show one match on free-to-air television would allow them to negotiate more lucrative deals with pay-TV channels.

Negotiations with political leaders followed in an effort to find a solution, but the LFP last week reiterated its decision to walk out on the weekend of 2-3 April.

That prompted the six "rebel" clubs - Sevilla, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Espanyol and Zaragoza - to break ranks and mount a legal challenge.

They argued the strike would be "disproportionate, inopportune, against the interest of clubs, the competition and supporters and, what's more, against the law".

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

"The main losers are the citizens and football players because the competition has been extended by about 20 days," he said before the court ruling.

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

The strike would have caused the Spanish league season to be extended from the weekend of 21-22 May to 11-12 June.

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

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see also
Spanish matches off over dispute
23 Mar 11 |  Europe
Spanish League faces strike fears
05 Nov 09 |  Europe

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