Spanish players threaten strike before season

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MADRID (AP) - Spanish league players say they will go on strike if a new collective bargaining agreement is not signed.

Spanish Football Players Association head Luis Rubiales made the announcement Thursday. He was backed by about 100 players representing all 42 clubs in the top two divisions.

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol and Real Madrid pair Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso attended, along with fellow Spain internationals Fernando Llorente, Javi Martinez and Santi Cazorla.

Rubiales said about 200 players will be owed a total of $71 million by the start of the season. That’s up from $17 million to about half as many players last year. Players are concerned clubs will not be able to make the payments.

Negotiations for a new labor agreement started at the end of May. The league is scheduled to start Aug. 20.

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