Spanish league is out of date, says union chief

The president of the players' union says the way Spanish football treats its players needs to change dramatically

The current chaos surrounding the upcoming Spanish season underlines the league's 'incredible' treatment of players, according to the president of the nation’s footballers’ union.

This week, a judge ordered that Real Murcia be reinstated into the Segunda Division after the LFP had originally demoted them to the third tier for failing to keep their finances in order.

Yet the delay in the initial ruling and the narrow timeframe now left following the appeal, with the Segunda originally having been scheduled to kick off on August 23, has led to the campaign being delayed until a decision can be made on the now 23-team second tier.

And Luis Rubiales, the president of the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) and a vice-president of Fifpro, has told Goal that Spanish football needs to learn from this episode.

"A deadline should be agreed before the start of the previous season and at the very latest, it should be established the following April or May which clubs have complied with the rules, in which us, the footballers, should participate and which should safeguard the working and sporting rights of the players – past, present and future.

"All the rules that affect footballers in Spain should be agreed with AFE and at the moment that’s not the case. In addition, they are matters that should be resolved with guarantees and security for the footballers and not two weeks before the season starts."

But Rubiales is also concerned that this is far from the first example of short-sightedness within the RFEF (Spanish FA) and LFP when it comes to keeping players in the loop.

"You have to go no further than last season and the relegation of CD Guadalajara and the threat of demotion for AD Alcorcon. By both the government and La Liga we were promised that this wouldn’t happen again," he added.

"But a year on, that wasn’t the case from the league’s point of view and the secretary of state was then on holiday and didn’t return any calls, which as you can imagine didn’t go down at all well with the Real Murcia players, who had hoped for better from the person who is head of all sport in Spain.

"The players have said to me that it’s incredible that the government allow this to happen and that La Liga doesn’t give any thought to the protagonists of this sport. Spain today is the country with the most out-of-date rules and laws of any of those that have top-level professional leagues in Europe."

And the uncertainty caused to players of clubs who now have no idea which league they may be playing in has led to Rubiales suggesting his members should be compensated.

"First of all we have demanded that La Liga pay compensation for the quantitative damages, but how can we even begin to assess the moral, sporting and family damages caused by this situation? Decisions will continue to be made over the next few days.

"On a personal level, we are in touch with the footballers on a daily basis to offer them advice and to try to find the best way out of each individual situation.

"La Liga have said publicly that they will carry on as they have before. Those players harmed feel very badly treated by the LFP and at AFE we won't allow that, so we'll use everything in our power within the law and the union movements to try and revert the situation."