La Liga claims it's under attack from the RFEF and refuses to alter fixture dates

Lionel Messi Barcelona Copa del Rey
Alex Caparros
The Royal Spanish Football Federation demanded La Liga alter matches for the first three rounds of 2019-20, and the league believes it is under attack

La Liga has insisted it will not change the dates of fixtures in the opening three rounds of the 2019-20 season, despite a demand to do so from the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

The RFEF released a statement on Friday confirming the competition judge had ruled football was only to be played on Saturday or Sunday in August and September.

As such, it demanded La Liga alter its calendar as it had not sought permission to play matches on Fridays and Mondays, with defending champions Barcelona initially scheduled to begin their campaign against Athletic Bilbao on Friday August 16.

But La Liga refutes the decision, instead claiming to be the only organisation able to set the schedule for league fixtures.

"LaLiga confirms that there is a judicial hearing indicated for August 7 with the objective of resolving this RFEF attack with caution to La Liga's powers and the value of the audiovisual rights of the associated clubs," a statement read, adding that fixture changes could affect signed contracts worth "more than" €2 billion (£1.8b/$2.2b).

Should La Liga lose the case, Barca's clash with Bilbao will be put back to Saturday August 17, along with Real Mallorca's meeting with Eibar, which was initially set for Monday August 19. Real Betis' game against Real Valladolid will also be moved.

Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Real Sociedad and others will also be impacted across the opening weekends if the August hearing rules in favour of RFEF.

La Liga and the RFEF were previously in confrontation last season over the location of a fixture between Girona and Barcelona when the latter organisation was opposed to holding the match in Miami. 

The game was eventually held in Spain after La Liga officials were unable to get the game to go ahead in across the Atlantic.

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Despite the intervention of the RFEF, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu continued to insist La Liga must hold fixtures abroad in future when speaking to the BBC in February. 

“If we want La Liga to be strong, we are to play in these games,” Bartomeu said. 

“At Barca we have sometimes been talking to La Liga and have been telling them that if you want to promote La Liga more and more, then we should have three games of the year outside – one in America, one in the Middle East and one in Asia.”