Sports

Spanish soccer ruling is good for Boise’s Basque Friendly

A Spanish court Thursday suspended a strike called by the players’ union, which resonated in Boise, where Athletic Bilbao is scheduled to play Mexico’s Club Tijuana on July 29 at Albertsons Stadium.

Athletic Bilbao plays in Spain’s La Liga, and without players, the Basque Soccer Friendly in Boise could have been in jeopardy.

The National Court announced its decision in a statement, ruling in favor of the Spanish league’s request to temporarily suspend the strike. Judges said holding the strike would prevent the conclusion of first and second division championships on their scheduled dates over the next couple of weeks.

They ruled this would “cause serious organizational disorder,” that would be difficult to resolve given the complexity of Spain’s international sporting commitments, as well as club and players’ holidays.

The players’ union said last week it would strike from Saturday matches as a protest against a proposed government law that aims to regulate the sale of television rights and the distribution of revenues. The strike was backed by the Spanish soccer federation.

Shortly after the court’s ruling was announced, the federation said it, too, called off its plans to suspend matches.

Barcelona leads Real Madrid by four points and could clinch the La Liga title with a win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday. The leaders will also play Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final May 30, a match that was threatened by the strike.

The strike would not only have brought the Spanish season to a chaotic close, but it could also have had international repercussions. The longstanding president of the Spanish soccer federation, Ángel María Villar, is also a vice president of FIFA and a close ally of Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president. He had suggested that government meddling in TV rights could lead FIFA to take action against Spain, including possibly barring Spain from international competitions.

Tickets for the Boise fundraiser remain on sale, from $35 to $95, plus fees. Officials, hoping to sell out 36,000 seats inside the Boise State football stadium, have sold about half that number. The event runs in conjunction with the Jaialdi festival in Boise, and is a benefit for the Basque Studies Foundation and the Idaho Youth Soccer Association.

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