A crumbling Eibar stadium and disintegrating Atletico Madrid pitch showed that La Liga needs to clean up at home before moving abroad
You wouldn’t have believed it unless you actually saw it for yourself.
On Saturday, seconds after Ever Banega scored the second goal for Sevilla at Eibar from the penalty spot, a near disaster struck. The players were celebrating right next to the stands when suddenly an exuberant bunch of fans fell crashing to the ground, after the rails collapsed under their weight.
Scenes of panic and confusion followed inside Ipurua, with quite a few fans sustaining minor injuries. Up to fourteen people were helped by emergency personnel. La Liga officials were left gulping after such a huge fright. The referee kept calm, players of both teams asked fans to be careful with the rail-less section of the stands and, fortunately, the game went on without further incident.
But the fact was that, once again, *another* bizarre incident was piling up in La Liga’s impressive display of deplorable events happening in their grounds.
It actually seems straight out of Goddess Fortune’s playbook. As much as La Liga’s boss, Javier Tebas, keeps pushing towards competitive games being played abroad, more and more evidence adds up at home to prove that the league has enough problems to solve on Spanish soil before thinking about exporting their product.
Three weeks ago we talked about shameful pitches, anger inside the player’s union and the closing down of the Vallecas stadium after a number of safety measures hadn’t been guaranteed.
But that was only the tip of the iceberg.
Vallecas was closed down while works were completed inside the stadium. And it presented us with one of the zaniest videos of 2018 where a handful of construction workers ‘tested’ the durability and resistance of the stands by jumping on them up and down, mirroring drunken and / or chant-loving fans. The video quickly went viral and further embarrassed La Liga.
— El Partidazo de COPE (@partidazocope) September 14, 2018
But faulty facilities such as Vallecas or Ipurua are not the only problem being faced by La Liga’s authorities. Crumbling stadia are also becoming an issue, especially in grounds that have been put to the test such as the Wanda Metropolitano.
Due to the extremely precise demands of the competition regarding facilities and lighting conditions, works have been ongoing for the past few months in Rayo Majadahonda’s El Cerro del Espino ground.
The stadium won’t be ‘done’ till January, so Rayo needed a place where they could host games for the first five months of the competition in the Segunda División. And Atlético de Madrid, being chivalrous, decided to lend their facilities to their ailing counterparts.
However, this has had an ongoing effect on the Metropolitano’s turf, whose condition is less and less optimal as it has to endure one, two or even three official games per week. It’s quality has decreased noticeably and a couple of Atleti players have already complained about its condition.
And, to top everything off, we have to talk about the sun. In September, temperatures in places such as Valencia or Sevilla were as high as hell. Who could’ve predicted something like this, uh? Anyway, the scheduling of the games didn’t help at all, and La Liga had the brilliant plan of scheduling matches with over 30º Celsius temperatures and humidity of 60% plus.
Si @LaLiga mantiene horarios disparatados, recuperaremos la competencia para 19/20. VERGÜENZA para AFICIONADOS y GENTE del FÚTBOL. A más de 30º no se puede jugar a determinadas horas. Golpes de calor por decenas.
INADMISIBLE. En la @rfef estamos hartos❗️❗️#RespetemosElFutbol pic.twitter.com/CmYhHK27q8
— Luis Rubiales (@LuisRubiales) September 23, 2018
The result? Over fifteen people in the stands suffering fainting attacks due to extreme heat both in Ciutat de Valencia (Levante-Sevilla) and Estadio de la Cerámica (Villarreal-Valencia).
Aficionados were angry and outraged having warned the authorities about the unhealthy conditions and being ignored. In fact, president Javier Tebas doubled down and publicly stated that La Liga had “evidence that some fans were organizing themselves to fake fainting (!!!)” when attending the games. To date, he hasn’t apologized for such remarks.
In La Liga’s mind, the show must go on no matter what…even if the fans’ health or well-being is put in jeopardy.