8/9/2019 6:11:46 PM

Barca to kick off La Liga next Friday after court's fixture ruling

Barca to kick off La Liga next Friday after court

Madrid, Spain: Barcelona's opening match of their La Liga title defence at Athletic Bilbao will take place next Friday after a judge ruled that matches could be played on that day but not on Mondays.

The decision from a court in Madrid means matches scheduled for Fridays in the opening three rounds, which were announced at the start of July, can be played, while matches planned for Mondays will have to be reorganised.

"It is ordered that the federation should allow the holding of matches on Fridays but not Mondays," the judge said.

Bilbao will host Barca at 9pm local time (1900 GMT) at San Mames stadium on August 16.

Confirmation of the date of the La Liga curtain-raiser comes just one week before the fixture kicks off, leaving supporters little time to arrange tickets and transport.

The decision also means existing matches due to take place on Mondays, including Eibar's trip to Mallorca and Real Betis' clash with Real Valladolid on August 19, will have to be moved.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) claimed a victory over the country's top division, who backed the controversial Friday and Monday matches and argued removing those slots would risk losing lucrative television contracts.

"We are very satisfied and happy," said RFEF president Luis Rubiales. 

"It's a historic day. The RFEF's position and my commitment to Spanish football and fans have been fulfilled."

However the RFEF had wanted the removal of both Monday and Friday matches, which have proven controversial in Spain, where they have attracted disappointing attendances and been reserved primarily for teams lower down in the league table.

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