Fixture chaos in Spain amid latest La Liga row with federation

Madrid (AFP) –


La Liga has been forced to change the days of its fixtures for the opening weekend of the season, just two days before they were due to start.

The Spanish league announced on Wednesday night it had given in to the "nonsense" of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), in order to avoid "irreparable sporting damage to the clubs".

It is the latest in a number of disputes between Spanish football's two governing bodies, who have been at loggerheads over scheduling for more than a year.

La Liga is keen to stretch games from Fridays to Mondays to maximise television revenues while the federation is determined to keep matches to Saturdays and Sundays only.

"In order to avoid irreparable sporting damage to the clubs affected by this nonsense of the RFEF (Spanish Football Federation), La Liga has rescheduled the matches initially scheduled for Friday and Monday for this first day," La Liga said in a statement.

It means the season's original curtain-raiser between Granada and Athletic Bilbao, initially scheduled for Friday at 9:00 pm (1900 GMT), will be played on Saturday at 6:30 pm.

And Alaves against Real Betis on Monday at 9:00 pm has been brought forward to Sunday 2:00 pm.

The first game of the season will instead be Eibar against Celta Vigo at Ipurua on Saturday at 4:00 pm. All matches are still without fans.

But La Liga announced its "firm intention" to puts its case to the government's Ministry for Sport regarding the second round of league games, which also has kick-offs on Friday and Monday night.

A judge in Madrid is due to decide on October 6 which organisation has the final say on the scheduling of matches.

La Liga is responsible for the top two divisions in Spain while the federation oversees the third tier and below, as well as the women's top flight.

Reigning champions Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla will all sit out the opening weekend after being given extra time off following their involvement in European competitions last term.