sport

Santander planning cup boycott

Racing Santander's players are still intending to boycott Thursday night's Copa del Rey clash against Real Sociedad unless the club's board resign, Spanish professional footballers' union president Luis Rubiales has confirmed.

The Racing players released a joint statement on Monday announcing they would refuse to play the quarter-final second leg unless president Angel Lavin and his board stepped down.

In the statement, Racing captain Mario Fernandez said the players had not been paid for a number of months despite promises they would be.

With still no response to that ultimatum throughout the week, Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) chief Rubiales met with the Racing players and coaching staff in Santander on Thursday, and afterwards he confirmed there had been no change in the team's stance.

He told a press conference: "If at 2100 the Racing board is the same as now, they will not play.

"The squad decided something last Monday which they made public, and they continue thinking exactly the same, that if the current board have not resigned by the time of the game they are not going to play. They have the complete backing of the AFE, as always."

Rubiales reminded the Racing players at the meeting that "there are rules and their decision not to play could have consequences, but they are strong and united and we have to be together with them."

Sociedad lead 3-1 from the first leg with this evening's match scheduled to kick-off at 2100 local time at Racing's El Sardinero stadium. Barcelona awaiting the winners in the semi-finals.

As recently as 2008 Racing finished sixth in the Primera Division standings but in the last two seasons they have suffered back-to-back relegations to drop to the third tier.