Sports

Kickoff time set for Basque Soccer Friendly in Boise; officials say strike shouldn’t affect match

The Spanish players’ union went on strike Monday from La Liga, which is home to Athletic Bilbao, which plays Mexico’s Club Tijuana on July 29 in Boise. Organizers for the Basque Soccer Friendly at Albertsons Stadium told the Idaho Statesman on Monday they are not worried about the labor dispute.

The Boise match is set to kick off at 7 p.m., according to a Tuesday morning release from organizers.

At issue is a proposed law in Spain that would force La Liga to negotiate a TV deal as a league, instead of allowing individual clubs to negotiate their own deals, which favors international powers Real Madrid and Barcelona. A Spanish court will rule Wednesday whether the strike is valid before the final two weeks of the season and the Copa del Rey final between Bilbao and Barcelona on May 30.

Argia Beristain, sponsorship director for the Boise friendly, said the strike shouldn’t affect the soccer match. She thinks the strike will be resolved soon.

“Our contract is with the team, not with La Liga,” Beristain said. “This situation is between the league and the Spanish government.

“What (Bilbao) told us is they’re going to come to an agreement,’’ she said. “... As it all plays out, at the end of the day, La Liga is Spain’s No. 1 export. They’re not going to prevent them from what they do. It’s the best of what Spain does.”

Tickets for the fundraiser remain on sale, from $35 to $95, plus fees. Officials, hoping to sell out 36,000 seats, have sold about 16,000 tickets. The event, to run in conjunction with the Jaialdi festival in Boise, benefits the Basque Studies Foundation and the Idaho Youth Soccer Association.

Tickets to the Basque Soccer Friendly are on sale via Ticketmaster.com, by calling or visiting the Boise State Athletic Ticket Office on the west side of Albertsons Stadium, 426-4737. Tickets are also available at select Walmart locations with Tickemaster retail outlets: Boise (Cole Road); Meridian (Fairview Avenue) and Nampa (Franklin Road, 12th Avenue or South Middleton Road. More information including ticket prices, parking map and tailgating information available at http://www.basquesoccerfriendly.com/

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