The first match of the 2020-21 LaLiga campaign has been postponed by 24 hours after a scheduling row between the division and the Spanish football federation.
The scheduled start of the campaign had to be hastily changed on Wednesday night as the result of a dispute between the two bodies over whether matches can be played on Fridays and Mondays.
LaLiga was set to begin with a match between Granada and Athletic Bilbao on Friday night, but the federation forced the game to be moved to the weekend because it opposes matches on Mondays and Fridays.
The game was rescheduled to Saturday after the ruling of a judge in the federation’s competitions committee on Wednesday.
Monday’s game between Alaves and Real Betis also was moved to the weekend, as were a handful of second-division matches.
LaLiga said it would change the schedule this time ‘to avoid irreparable damages to the clubs affected by this nonsense by the federation.’
But it added that it will continue to fight to play on Mondays and Fridays and would appeal to the nation’s sports council to try to keep the second-round games unchanged. LaLiga said it was unfair for a judge linked to the federation to be making the ruling.
The federation and LaLiga have long argued over whether matches can be played on Fridays and Mondays, with each side getting favorable rulings from different courts.
The federation made concessions at the end of last season because of the coronavirus pandemic, allowing LaLiga to schedule matches on those days to guarantee that the season could finish in time.
The federation had warned, though, that it maintained its stance against playing on Mondays and Fridays.
LaLiga felt that it could still play on those days this season as matches will continue to take place without fans and under strict health protocols.
The federation’s stance against playing on Mondays and Friday is based in part on complaints by Spain’s players’ association.
LaLiga, meanwhile, argues that those days are important for its broadcasters who pay for the league’s television rights.
Federation president Luis Rubiales and LaLiga counterpart Javier Tebas have been at odds over several issues in recent years. A peace deal was struck earlier this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, but it didn’t take long before the sides began disagreeing again.
Only seven of the 10 first-round matches will be played this week after LaLiga postponed games involving the teams that played later into the season because of European competitions, including Barcelona, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid and defending champions Real Madrid.
LaLiga had hoped to have fans back at the stadiums this season but matches will still be played without spectators as Spain battles a new surge in coronavirus cases.
Teams will still be allowed to make five substitutions in each match, as was the case when LaLiga resumed after the pandemic.