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"Rebels" could delay start of La Liga

La Liga's opening round of fixtures could be postponed for a second consecutive year, with nine "rebel" clubs meeting on Tuesday to consider their options as the row over Spanish football's TV deal continues.

A strike would see the postponement of the first round of La Liga games - scheduled for August 18, 19 and 20.

The nine rebels are unhappy with the kick-off times for the first three weeks of the season, which include some games starting at 23.00, and certain clubs stuck with unwanted Monday night slots.

Madrid paper AS reported at the time that clubs were being used as pawns in a commercial battle between the two TV companies - Mediapro and Canal+ - who show live La Liga football in Spain.

Celta Vigo, Atletico Madrid, Osasuna, Getafe, Real Sociedad, Athletic, Espanyol, Real Zaragoza and Real Betis, who have all signed deals with Canal+, maintain that the Spanish league (LFP) is favouring Mediapro through their setting of the fixtures.

Atletico are particularly angry with the scheduling of their La Liga game against Athletic at 22.00 on Monday August 27, affecting preparations for Diego Simeone's side's UEFA Super Cup clash with Chelsea in Monaco the following Friday. Colchoneros president Enrique Cerezo heavily criticised LFP vice-president Javier Tebas on Spanish radio station Onda Cero on Sunday evening.

"They say that the 11pm kick-offs are to keep the players cool, but we are not fools," said Cerezo. "They have been tricking us for years, saying we had to play at midday so people could watch in China, and now you cannot see the games in China. It is a problems of interests, there is one league for some and another for others. We are going to fight so that there is one league for everyone."

Tebas responded on Monday via his personal Twitter account by questioning Cerezo's knowledge of the situation and his stewardship of his own club.

"I have not seen Cerezo around the LFP in ten years, you need to pardon him, he does not understand," Tebas said. "He does not even know that his club owes more than €150m in taxes. It is incredible that Atletico Madrid and Osasuna complain about TV rights and only two weeks ago they signed the new TV contracts."

Sevilla and Valencia, partnered with Mediapro, were also invited to Tuesday's meeting as they are known to be in favour of a renegotiation of the existing contracts to more fairly spread revenues around the league.

Rows over TV deals are nothing new in Spain. Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido last year called for a "French revolution" to overthrow the existing agreements, but his campaign fizzled out after he was outmanoeuvered by Tebas' 'G30' group, which includes an alliance of Madrid and Barcelona with many of Spain's second tier clubs.

The 2011/12 season kicked off a week late last September after a players strike called in protest at unpaid wages.