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The players of Spanish club Racing Santander who are claiming four months of unpaid wages have taken a strong stand in the face of growing resistance to push on with plans to not play in the Copa del Rey quarter-final against Real Sociedad, scheduled for later today, Thursday, January 30.

FIFPro, as the global representative for 65 thousand professional footballers, together with AFE (Asociacion de Futbolistas Espanoles), supports the fundamental rights of the players to have their contracts respected. That they should expect to receive their salary each month is non-negotiable.

FIFPro also notes the precarious financial position facing Racing Santander, which, like many other clubs in Spain, has been carrying significant debt for years. The World Footballers' Union argues this is symptomatic of a deeply flawed and unsustainable football industry. A crippled transfer system has been targeted as the game's core deficiency which FIFPro is preparing to challenge under European law.

Despite pressure to back down, the Racing players are showing a united front. Having threatened not to play in the Copa del Rey quarter-final against Real Sociedad, the players were informed that they did not provide local authorities with the required seven days-notice of their intention to strike. AFE representatives, including President Luis Rubiales, travelled to Santander to support the players' demands while informing them of the potential consequences of their actions.

However, the prestige of a Copa del Rey quarter-final, which for the winner will mean a date with Barcelona in the semi-final, is seen by the Racing players as an ideal stage to garner the necessary attention. They had demanded that Racing President, Ángel Lavín, step down with immediate effect or the players would not take the field against Real Sociedad.

This is not the first time Racing players have expressed their anger against the leadership of the 100-year-old club which has dropped two divisions in the past two seasons from Primera División to Segunda B, the third tier of Spain's league structure. A unique protest took place during the previous round of the Copa del Rey in which Racing players stood still for the first 15 seconds of their home clash with Almeria. Watch it here.

The return leg of that Copa del Rey tie was also notable for a variety of reasons: that a third-tier club whose players had not been paid for months won against a team from La Liga; and that Racing achieved this stunning feat after travelling 13 hours by bus from the far north to reach Almeria on the south coast. Meanwhile, the club's president reportedly made the 1,000 kilometer journey by plane.

AFE is digging deep to provide the players of Racing Santander with temporary financial support. It will provide one month's salary from its emergency fund to help all concerned buy a little extra time while they continue to fight for their outstanding wages.