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As explained in this blog a few weeks ago, and in light of the exceptional circumstances, the Spanish Football Federation (“RFEF”) proposes to end non-professional competitions (Second Division B, Third Division, statewide women’s competitions, indoor football and national youth categories) without relegations. The RFEF is considering an express promotion mechanism using a single-match play-off system for those competitions where the regulation provides for a final phase or play-off.

On May 7, the board of the RFEF approved the proposal to end non-professional competitions without relegations following the agreement reached after consultation with the Committee of Regional Presidents.  On the morning of May 8, the RFEF Delegate Commission ratified the decision for its entry into force.

The debate is whether the applicable regulations give legal cover to the proposal for the definitive suspension of non-professional competitions, and specifically its consequences in terms of promotions and relegations.

In this regard, Article 188 of the RFEF rules provides that in the event of force majeure or exceptional circumstances, the RFEF may suspend the competitions in whole or in part and extend or reduce the registration periods.  In this respect, the Spanish Footballers’ Association (AFE) considers that Article 188 of the RFEF rules does not provide for the amendment of the competition rules.

While Article 188 entitles the RFEF to suspend the competition, it does not specify the consequences of force majeure events that make it impossible to complete the competition.

The Spanish National Sports Council (“CSD”) has recently published a resolution initially intended to give legal cover to the federations, so that they would decide on the resumption or cancellation of this season.  Obviously, the resolution lacks the force of law and merely makes “recommendations” to the federations—the delegate commissions being competent to take the relevant decisions.

As stated in the resolution, any decision by the federations affecting the general framework of statewide competitions can be appealed before the CSD and the ordinary courts.

In sum, the absence of a regulation with the force of law entitling the federations to cancel the season—regardless of the specific rules governing each federation—may result in claims from aggrieved sport entities seeking compensation for the damage allegedly suffered.

This post is also available in: Español



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