Spain approves changes to Copa del Rey and Super Cup

ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 30, 2019 06:39 AM
Spain approves changes to Copa del Rey and Super Cup
FILE - Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, right, runs with the ball past Manchester United's Scott McTominay, center, and Manchester United's Chris Smalling during the Champions League quarterfinal, second leg, soccer match between FC Barcelona and Manchester United at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

MADRID (AP) — The Spanish soccer federation approved format changes to the Copa del Rey and the Super Cup on Monday despite opposition from the Spanish league.

The Copa del Rey will be played in single-match series until the semifinals, while the Spanish Super Cup will adopt a "final four" format with the top finishers in the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey.

The changes are expected to take effect at the beginning of next season, although the Spanish league could still appeal the federation's decision, which was approved during its general assembly.

The Spanish league voted last week in its own general assembly not to support the changes, saying it should have been directly involved in the discussions.

The federation said the changes will help reduce the number of games for clubs and players.

Federation president Luis Rubiales said last week the entity was considering playing the new Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, prompting some criticism by human rights groups who have denounced conditions in the Middle East nation.

The competition has been played at the beginning of the season in a one-game final between the Copa del Rey and the league champions. The final four will now be played in January.

Last year's final, won by Barcelona against Sevilla, was played in Tangier, Morocco.

The Spanish federation also approved changes aimed at giving more visibility and improving women's soccer. The women's league will have two divisions and a Super Cup will be created.

The federation said it will take actions to increase the number of professional women's players and the number of girls involved in the sport.

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