Strike threat for Spanish basketball league play-offs

Madrid, May 22 (IANS) Spanish basketball was thrown into turmoil late Tuesday night with the news that players from the Endesa ACB League will go on an indefinite strike from Sunday.

The strike comes at the start of the quarter-finals of the play-offs of the ACB League which will decide the eventual champions of the competition, reports Xinhua.

The players are striking in order to force a collective agreement which will establish the minimum wage for players in the competition at 25,000 euros, as well as doubling the current fund which guarantees players’ salaries in case their clubs find themselves in financial problems.

The strike call has been met with an immediate response from clubs in the ACB, who have sent out a communique in which they state they respect the majority of the union’s proposals and indeed have already accepted to improve the working conditions of players and “are open to debate the others conditions in the agreement.”

The clubs have made it clear they “respect the constitution right” of the players to strike, but have stressed they are willing to reopen negotiations over the collective agreement as well as asking for Spain’s Secretary of State for Sport, Miguel Cardenal mediate between the two sides.

The play-offs are the culminating part of the Spanish season in which the top eight sides in the ACB League after 34 matches play a knockout competition in order to decide Spain’s best team.

The fact the strike is due to begin Sunday means that the first of the quarter-final games, which are decided over the best of three encounters, have already been played.

Real Madrid, who finished top of the table after 34 games, play Blusens Monbus, Caja Laboral take on Herbalife Gran Canaria, Valencia face Zaragoza, while reigning champions, Regal Barcelona, play Bilbao Basket.

The strength of the Spanish league was highlighted in the recent Final Four of the EuroLeague, which was played in London.

The ACB had two representatives among with best in Europe with both Barcelona and Real Madrid, who were beaten finalists after defeating Barca in the semi-final, taking part.

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