Barcelona star Lionel Messi has offered his backing to a possible strike among La Liga players which could disrupt the end of the Spanish domestic season.
The Liga players union (AFE) is reportedly considering strike action for the penultimate round of games, to played on the weekend of May 17 and including the potentially crucial Atletico Madrid against Barcelona fixture, as it is unhappy with the smallprint of the new TV revenue distribution deal recently signed into law by the Spanish government.
This new broadcast arrangement was widely welcomed as a chance to lessen the financial dominance of Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spanish football, however AFE is reported to be unhappy at not being involved in negotiations which lead to the deal, and especially that a guarantee of support for players does not appear anywhere in the new legislation.
Asked at the news conference ahead of Barca's Champions League semifinal first leg at home to Bayern Munich about a potential strike action by the players, Messi said he was aware of the issue and supported the union's position.
"That is something which AFE have said to us, they came here for a meeting with us," the Blaugrana forward said. "The players are with them in what they say."
Bayern Munich's Spain international midfielder Xabi Alonso also backed AFE's stance, saying that from the players' perspective the new broadcast legislation was not a positive development.
"There are positive things in the new agreement for the clubs, but from the footballer's point of view it is not good," ex-Real Madrid midfielder Alonso said.
"So we support the complaints from AFE. Some of the measures in there are not so good. It is not a bad agreement, but it could have been better."
AS' reports on the possible strike points out that the Premier League's bumper broadcast deal diverts 1.5 percent of revenues to players, while the Liga arrangement gives them zero -- but does say that one percent of the total amount raised should go to athletes in other sports.
El Pais adds that AFE is also unhappy with the tax authorities having recently targeted big name players as part of a general crackdown in response to Spain's continuing economic woes.
Messi was one of the highest-profile targets of this increased regulation, and has paid extra amounts of over €10 million following an investigation of his affairs.
A court ruled late last year that the Argentina player and his father Jorge could still face trial over alleged offences.
The Spanish FA [RFEF] is also reported to be unhappy with the government's involvement in the new law, which mandates a closer accounting of how all money in football is allocated.
This comes after recent complaints by RFEF president Angel Maria Villar of "excessive interventionism" when asked to account in detail for how all money granted to the federation was spent.