Basketball players in Spain unite behind their union in bargaining dispute
The players of the top Spanish basketball competition “Liga ACB” have announced their resolution to strike indefinitely from tomorrow, 14 February 2018. The players and their union, the “Asociacion de Baloncestistas Profesionales” (ABP), took this decision after the breakdown in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with league officials. Chief among the causes for the breakdown in talks is the unilateral determination by the league to fundamentally weaken the longstanding “fondo social”, a fund that provides the financial basis for the services the ABP offers to its members. ACB league officials have argued for a drastic reduction of the current amount contributed by the ACB. The players and their representatives view this proposal as a deliberate move to decrease the association’s ability to support the players.
“We have no choice but to take a firm stand. The fund has helped to defend the rights and interest of players for almost three decades. We won’t allow the league to decimate it as this would directly affect our ability to deliver our services to the players”, said Alfonso Reyes, President of the ABP.
“Progressive sport governing bodies and leagues understand the importance of creating an environment in which players’ rights are protected and where the athletes are provided opportunities to develop as people. These employers accept a responsibility for exposing increasingly young athletes to ever-growing demands on their bodies and minds. We, therefore, back the ABP and its members in asking the ACB to meet the duty of care it owes to the players”, said Johannes Herber, former international basketball player and Head of Player Relations of the World Players Association.
The announced strike will start one day before the beginning of the “Copa del Rey”, the most popular national cup competition in European basketball. Despite pressures from the league and the clubs the players have expressed their resolve and unity in the media and through their own channels. Messages of solidarity and support have come in from Spanish players around the world, among them NBA player Pau Gasol, Vice-President of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), a World Players affiliate.
“The World Players Association stands in full support with the ABP and its members in this dispute. History demonstrates that whenever players have united to fight for an equal say and better working conditions the result has been beneficial for the sport as a whole”, said Brendan Schwab, Executive Director of the World Players Association.
The ABP and ACB officials will convene in an emergency meeting today to find a way to resolve the stalemate.