MADRID: Real Madrid executive Emilio Butragueno has joined calls for a peace deal between Spanish league and federation to avert a Liga shutdown from Wednesday writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Butragueno, the former Spain striker who is the European champions’ head of public affairs, expressed the club’s support for the legue and its president Javier Tebas.

He said: “We are with the league and with the clubs it comprises. This is the best league in the world and we cannot risk any damage to its prestige. We urgently need a solution.”

Club coaches have all insisted they are working towards next weekend’s penultimate round of matches in the hope of a peace deal.

Diego Simeone, boss of outgoing champions Atletico de Madrid, summed up the general mood when he said: “Lots of people arer working to resolve the situation and the best thing we can do to support them as to carry on working as usual in the hope that everything will turn out for the best.”

The federation, led by long-serving FIFA and UEFA vice-president Angel Maria Villar, ordered the shutdown after an agreement for the centralised sale of league TV rights was written formally into law by a royal decree.

Villar deemed this to have contravened national and international football federation statutes.

The shutdown would mean the cancellation of the last two rounds of league matches as well as the cup final between Barcelona and Bilbao.

Tebas has submitted an appeal to the Spanish sports council (the Consejo Superior de Deportes), asking it is annul the shutdown order. The appeal will be heard on Tuesday and either side then has the option of going to the courts.

To further complicate matters the players’ union, which supports the federation’s stance, has ordered a players’ strike across the dates of the shutdown.

Since the dispute is purely domestic, it will not affect Barcelona and Real Madrid’s continuing participation in the UEFA Champions League.

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