Racing Santander Players Want To Be Paid, Refuse to Play (Video, Photo)


Racing Santander players showed just how hard the financial crisis has hit Spanish soccer.

The Spanish club’s 11 starters went on strike over unpaid wages Thursday, standing arm-in-arm at the center circle just after their team’s Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) quarterfinal game against Real Sociedad kicked off. Racing Santander’s substitutes and coaches did the same thing on the sideline.

Home fans at Racing Santander’s stadium, the Campos de Sport de El Sardinero, cheered their players’ labor action.

Real Socieded kicked the ball around for a few seconds before the referee abandoned the game. It’s likely that the RFEF, Spanish soccer’s governing body, will award Real Sociedad the win and a place in the semifinals, where it will meet Barcelona, according to the BBC.

The Racing Santander protest was not unexpected, as players released a statement Monday, saying they would not play again until club president Angel Lavin and the board of directors resigned. The players claim they have not been paid for four months.

FIFPro, world soccer’s players union, supports the action Racing Santander’s players have taken.

Manchester City’s Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo publicly backed the Racing Santander protest.

While Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of the world’s richest clubs, the Spanish debt crisis has caused great pain for many of the country’s other clubs. Some teams have sold their best players abroad, while others struggle to survive.

Despite Spanish soccer’s financial troubles, FIFPro communications director Andrew Orsatti says no professional player should go unpaid.

Watch Racing Santander players go on strike in the video below.

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Photo via Twitter/@MatchPhotos

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