Barca La Liga title charge threatened by players strike

Barcelona find themselves in the bizarre position of knowing they can wrap up a fifth La Liga title in seven years at Atletico Madrid on Sunday but not knowing whether the game will even be played.

The final two matchdays in Spain’s topflight are under threat after the players’ union (AFE) called a strike from May 16 to protest a new law mandating collective bargaining for television rights.

Efforts to broker a compromise are ongoing and the professional league (LFP) have filed a petition with a Madrid court to block the action, with a decision expected later on Thursday.

However, even if the court stops the union from striking, Sunday’s matches might not go ahead as the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) had pledged to suspend all competition from Saturday due to its own problems with the TV rights law.

It is a chaotic situation but treble-chasing Barca do not appear to be letting it dampen their euphoria, at least for the time being, after they secured their place in the Champions League final on Tuesday.

They are also through to the final of the King’s Cup to play Athletic Bilbao at the end of this month, when they will be seeking a record-extending 27th triumph.

“There are only 90 minutes in Berlin between us and a fifth European title,” coach Luis Enrique told a news conference after Barca sealed a 5-3 aggregate win over Bayern Munich.

“We are one win away from being champions in all three competitions,” added the former Barca and Spain midfielder, who is in his debut season in charge at the Nou Camp. “We are very pleased.”

While Barca are on a high, Real Madrid, four points behind their arch rivals in second, are in the doldrums after their dream of a second straight Champions League crown, and a record-extending 11th overall, was ended by Juventus on Wednesday.

Knocked out of the Cup by Atletico in January, Carlo Ancelotti’s men are almost certain to end the season without any of the three major trophies, a disastrous scenario for the world’s richest club by income.

“It’s obviously not what we want but there’s still a chance to win the league and we’ll keep fighting until it’s mathematically impossible,” Real’s Wales winger Gareth Bale told Sky Sports on Wednesday. “That’s all we can do.”

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman