Levante reach deal to avert player strike

April 26, 2008

MADRID, April 26 (Reuters) - Levante players have called off strike action for this weekend after reaching a deal with the club over outstanding payments.

The players had threatened not to turn up for Sunday's fixture at Recreativo Huelva in protest at the cash-strapped club's inability to pay salaries and bonuses from as far back as last season.

The outstanding payments are reported to reach some €18 million.

'Levante have reached an agreement with the players' representatives to call off the strike action planned for April 26-27, and they have accepted the guarantees necessary to back the deal,' the Primera Liga club said on their website.

Levante have suffered financial problems throughout the campaign because of increased expenses, lower than expected television revenue and delays on a plan to raise funds by selling their city-centre stadium.

Previous strike action had been avoided with promises from the club that had failed to be honoured, so this time the players had demanded firm guarantees to back any agreement.

Spanish media reported Valencia city council, the Spanish Football League (LFP) and the Spanish Players Union (AFE) helped set up an interim deal with the club for part of the monies owed to be made available promptly.

'The strike has been called off. We will be going for the win in Huelva,' Levante defender Luis Rubiales, who has been acting as a spokesman for the team, told reporters.

'The money will arrive to the players through a direct line of credit of eight million euros. We have a copy of the guarantee.'

Levante are bottom of the standings, 12 points from safety with five games remaining and could be relegated this weekend.