MADRID: The focus in Spain’s TV rights row reverted to federation president Angel Maria Villar today after a proposed players strike for the last two rounds of league matches was declared illegal by a court writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The federation, led by long-serving FIFA and UEFA vice-president Villar, had ganged up with the players union (AFE) in opposition to a new law enforcing the scheme by the league (LFP) to a centralised system of selling match television rights.

Villar and the RFEF had ordered a shutdown of all domestic football from Saturday which would affect the two last rounds of Liga games plus the cup final between Barcelona and Bilbao. The players’ union had proclaimed  strike on the grounds that the new deal let down footballers in the second division.

However today the Social Chamber of the High Court ruled that the strike would be illegal since it breached the collective agreement between lerague and plaers and could cause “irreparable harm”.

This threw the onus for the next step on to Villar and the federation which has the support of FIFA.

The world federation’s secretary-general, Jerome Valcke, has already written to the Spanish government saying that the enacting of a law risks being considered as unwarranted “interference” in the autonomy of the domestic game in contravention of national and international statutes.

Much of the rest of European football has been baffled by the row, having long ago accepted the concept of the centralised sale of league football rights which (with certain caveats) is also considered in line with European Union commercial law.