From Barcelona playing on a beach, to a stadium falling down and the ‘unexpected’ summer heat causing fixture chaos, it has been a rough few weeks for LaLiga
Fans seriously have to think long and hard to find a season kick-off as rocky as the one we’re experiencing this year in LaLiga.
Bizarre incidents keep piling up as officials scramble about trying to maintain some sort of coolness to a number of strange moves and unbelievable decision-making which have made this August one of the most entertaining ones in decades.
The roller-coaster began when LaLiga announced its move to hold an in-competition game in the United States. It didn’t take long for the backlash to become huge: fans were angry at the possibility of missing one of the home games that they had already paid for in their season pass, teams were caught off-guard and, above everything else, the players’ syndicate was *pissed*.
In fact, a meeting was held in Madrid with the captains and representatives of all the LaLiga squads. Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets, Koke…everyone was there. And their conclusions were as sensible as they come: “It’s unacceptable that such an important decision is taken by someone without asking the professional players involved”, said David Aganzo, president of the Spanish Player’s Association (AFE).
But his anger didn’t end there. The players are fed up with the random nature of many steps taken over the past few years by LaLiga to increase media impact and benefits. The landing of several low-tier Arab players last season (most of them didn’t play a single minute in the top-flight) wasn’t very well-received by the pros. Finally, the tight grip that LaLiga has on the TV rights and how they’re shared among the clubs is another topic where the players have strong disagreements.
With a potential players strike looming if LaLiga decides to see through their marketing plan in the US, soon after other matters began making the headlines… and they weren’t good ones. The broadcasting of the Valladolid vs Barça game last weekend displayed in front of a global audience just how poor the ground conditions were, with players picking up huge piles of turf and grass from the floor and a tremendous risk of injury for any of the footballers involved.
See, usually one misstep leads right to the next one. Valladolid was the last team to secure a spot in LaLiga last season, deep in June. Therefore, there hasn’t been enough time to reseed and change the turf at Nuevo José Zorrilla properly in order to adapt to the stadium rules that are applied in the top-flight.
Those things take time, but LaLiga’s demanding calendar didn’t foresee those kind of ‘little’ details. And that’s how we get Messi and other 21 players, worth millions of dollars, playing around in a ground which could have been used as a sandy beach for tourists. As long as the game was played… who cares, right?
In the last couple of days, the outrage has gone even further thanks to news coming from the Madrid region: authorities have forced the closing down of the home of Rayo Vallecano until building works are finished. Rayo also promoted this season and immediately began to update their facilities, but when the first game of the season came around fans found out several rails missing, pits full of rubbish without proper warnings for kids and adults… A total mess. So, the stadium will be kept closed until the middle of October. And what about the games that were going to be played there? What about this Saturday’s fixture between Rayo Vallecano and Athletic Club?
Yep, that’s a pretty good question.
Finally, the Valencian derby controversy. The game, at this point, is scheduled for next Saturday at 12pm at the Estadio Ciutat de Valencia. Fair enough… though there *might* be some problems as the hot weather and humid conditions are forecasting temperatures as high as 37º Celsius. Absolute madness both for the players and, especially, for the fans of both teams attending the game.
MODIFICACIÓN | Debido a la previsión de altas temperaturas al inicio del #GranadaOsasuna, el partido, fijado inicialmente para el domingo 2 a las 18.00h, se retrasa a las 21:00h del mismo día. https://t.co/sUWoMHVEuT pic.twitter.com/NlmK7mwKn1
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) August 30, 2018
The outrage has been huge and both ‘aficiones’ have pleaded to LaLiga to change their mind and push the game back to Sunday evening or night… but it doesn’t seem likely, even though local authorities have asked for a switch in the scheduling. Tough luck.
However, LaLiga did change the time of the fixture between Granada and Osasuna, that was going to be played on Sunday at 6pm. Why that random criteria? Shhh, don’t ask. Just smile and tag along. The show must go on.