Competition news

WEIRD SCHEDULES IN LA LIGA

03 Aug 2012
Matches at 11 PM, games on Monday’s afternoon, the fans of la liga thought they have seen everything; still they were shocked after the LFP released the hours for the first three matchdays at Primera. There are many accusations on the issue.

Almost no one has liked the kickoff times for the first three matchdays at the Spanish Primera División; la liga (LFP) released the hours on Wednesday’s night and almost immediately the protests started, from the fans to the presidents of some of the clubs.

It was already knew that the first two matchdays were going to be complicated, because the LFP and the Players Association (AFE) have already agreed that there won’t be games at noon, at least for the first two matchdays. This was a condition that the AFE imposed in order to accept the beginning of the tournament for the third weekend of August.

So, the LFP have already warned that some games would be played at 11PM in order to distribute the teams among all the possible TV frames, but no one was expecting to see games schedules so early on Mondays and neither matches to be played on Sundays’ midnight.

As always the ones that pay the price are the fans, because it’s hard to go to the stadium late at night and then be forced to go to work early on next morning, or in the case of Deportivo to attend to the Riazor when the game has been scheduled in working hours. Just to see matchday 01 as the debut in liga against Osasuna has been scheduled for Monday August 20th at 17h00 (CET). It invites to think that the Riazor won’t have a good attendance.

Neither happy are the Valencia’s fans as they host Deportivo for matchday 02 on Sunday August 26th at 23h00 (CET). At least the third game is more accessible for the fans in La Coruña as Depor host Getafe CF on Saturday September 1st (20h00 CET).

The complaints go beyond the simple composition of the matchdays as it’s also located at the middle of the television war between Mediapro and Canal +, the two major broadcasters of Spanish football. Both companies are currently having a legal battle in order to control the TV rights of at least nine Primera clubs, and just hours after the schedules were released Sportpaper AS was accusing the LFP for been trying to damage Canal +.

The argument of AS is that the schedules are made only to hit the ratings of Canal +, as example matchday 02; in that case Barcelona FC visit Osasuna and Real Madrid does the same with Getafe CF; both Osasuna and Getafe are part of the clubs that have signed contracts with Canal +. So that matchday should have meant one of the best weekend, in terms of ratings, for the company owned by the Prisa group; however in a weird decision both games are scheduled at the same hour (19h00 CET), which hardly happens without a good reason. Now Canal + loses a lucrative frame of two hours.

Another example listed by AS occurs in the first matchday; the most attractive game that Canal + will transmit is the Athletic Bilbao Vs. Real Betis, but the LFP strangely scheduled the game at the same hour than the other big game of the matchday: Real Madrid Vs. Valencia CF (August 19, 19h00 CET).

One of the most affected clubs by the schedules is Atletico Madrid, they’re of the nine clubs that have signed with Canal +, the Madrilenians have to play twice on Monday within the first three matchdays (Vs. Athletic Bilbao and at Real Betis), and the other game is scheduled for a Sunday’s midnight (at UD Levante).

The president of the club, Enrique Cerezo, hammered the LFP and Mediapro for the schedules, “"The issue of the schedules is a disgrace. If this matter depends on la liga then is not well directed. We play against Levante the first game on Sunday and end at dawn on Monday. The following week we play on a Monday when we have the Super Cup final on Friday. We are the only Spanish team that they had to protect. But instead they are hurting Atletico and Spanish football. If la liga is responsible for making these schedules then they have to leave. We must try to change this nightmare and if they cannot fix it, then they’ve to leave. I am not interested in a league like this.” He told to reporters.

Espanyol’s president, Ramon Condal, was also upset as his team has to face RCD Mallorca in the first matchday of the season and will do it at home on a Saturday’s midnight. He told to reporters that, “We should search for alternatives, even playing early in the afternoon. People must go to work. Weird schedules shouldn’t be allowed.”

Ángel Torres, the president of Getafe, also had strong words on the issue, "Clearly they are trying to screw things up and put pressure. It is a twisted attitude that the clubs shouldn’t allow. They are trying to damage the clubs. The LFP have to explain this very clearly. I don’t like the calendar and that taking in mind that Getafe didn’t get the worse dates, but this is an act of bad faith. "

ARCHIVE NEWS AUG/12

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