The 2-page handout

The reading

Lovers of Spanish football are in shock over the sudden suspension of all games in the country from May 16. This means the penultimate and final, and championship-deciding round of matches in La Liga may not take place. This has happened because of a dispute between the Spanish football federation and TV companies over TV rights. The suspension could affect more than 600,000 football players and 30,000 matches. It could not come at a worse moment for La Liga as Barcelona lead rivals Real Madrid by just two points, with three games left to play. The Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao is also under threat. Officials say there could be time for all parties to resolve their spat.

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The dispute is over a new law drawn up by the Spanish government that makes all teams bargain together over TV rights. Currently, the country's top two teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid, are allowed to negotiate their own deals with TV companies. This means they are allotted nearly half of all TV money on offer. The Spanish federation accused the government of a "lack of respect" over interfering in Spanish football. It also complained it had not been consulted properly on the proposed new TV rights law. In another twist, the players' union, the Association of Spanish Footballers, has threatened to strike over being excluded from the negotiations. Barcelona star Lionel Messi and others are backing this threat.



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