“With the UME on the street, it is not time to think about football”

first_img–Almost two years of intense mandate, but the dramatic thing has been this crisis of the Coronavirus.-It is not something that has touched me, but all the Spanish and almost the whole world. Right now our main concern is the health of soccer players, referees, coaches, employees and leaders of Spanish soccer. I am pleased that LaLiga has changed its criteria and that it has accepted the Federation’s thesis, which from the first day has been to suspend the Championship until the Government authorizes us to retake it. -Maybe from this crisis come peace between Thebes and Rubiales? Do you reach out to the LaLiga president? -You always have to reach out, dialogue and try to reach agreements like that of this indefinite suspension. It is important to be conciliatory and that Spanish football remains united, even more so at a time like today. It would be good, without a doubt.-You advocated from the first moment to suspend the competitions, was it because you quickly calculated the gravity of the situation? -We were very clear on how to act from the beginning and suspend all competitions that are the exclusive responsibility of the RFEF. Everyone’s health comes first. You cannot play with this. – Have you calculated the economic damage that this crisis will cause to football? -We are concerned about economic damage, and we are working hard on it, but second and behind health. Modest football has received a lot of income from the RFEF, which is still guaranteed, down to the last penny. I want to take the opportunity to thank the clubs that donated the coronavirus test tests that were provided by LaLiga to public health, these are the values ​​of football. There are many people who needed them most urgently. -Everyone calculates when to play again, Rubiales too? -From the RFEF we have it very clear. The most important thing was, is and always will be the health of all Spaniards. Competitions will resume only when everyone’s health is guaranteed and the integrity of the competition assured, never before. The idea of ​​playing again in four or five weeks was the idea of ​​others, not ours. Fortunately we all have the same opinion now. You can’t even think about playing again when the UME is on the street setting up field hospitals. -Then, when and how to resume the competition? -When the authorities indicate that we can resume the competition, we will assess, together with the AFE and LaLiga, the time soccer players need to regain their fitness and start the competition with full guarantees. -According to some opinions, when LaLiga is restarted, matches could be played every 48 hours. What do you think? -I have been a professional soccer player for many years and I know perfectly well that playing every 48 hours continuously is impossible because it goes against the health of athletes and this is contrary to the integrity of the competition. -Well, honestly, with this panorama many people put themselves on the stage of an unfinished League. Even if it costs you, it is not an impossible scenario. Do you admit the possibility that the championship cannot be resumed? If so, what will you do with the title, the promotions, the descents …? -The priority is health, but second is the integrity of the competition. When this nightmare passes we will return to normality. To shelve the competition and decree promotions, descents and champions, is something that I do not consider, because we have always defended that a competition that begins must end. The most reasonable thing is that, when health permits, the competitions are resumed, and the 20/21 season is adapted according to the time and calendar that we have left. Any other scenario is unfair. What institution should solve all these puzzles, the Federation or LaLiga? If you are ultimately responsible, will you ask UEFA for advice? -The Federation of course, but we will work, without imposing dates that pressure or impose measures contrary to health, so that the competition ends with all its days played. We will listen to everyone before making decisions. The organisms that govern Spanish football have to try to reach an agreement. From the RFEF, which is the home of all Spanish football, we always seek consensus in every decision. Regarding UEFA, he knows that I am vice president and communication with Ceferin is daily. I am very committed to the changes in good governance and transparency promoted by our President in Europe and satisfied to see how the priority is not to start as soon as possible, but to resume with all the guarantees of health and integrity, as it should be. That UEFA and RFEF think the same about this is comforting. -Do you know that the precedent in Europe for an unfinished league was in 1999 and that UEFA decided to give Partizán the title in Yugoslavia when the championship was suspended, ten days from the end, due to the Balkan War? What do you think? -It was a different situation. Nowadays it is, first of all, to beat the virus and be very disciplined in this. Second, it must be made clear that competitions are no exception and will only be played again when there are full guarantees and not before. Third, we must choose between finalizing a competition based on a deadline or giving continuity to this competition, extending the initial term that would be modified by an unsuccessful cause. At the RFEF we think that this last scenario is appropriate, due to its respect for what has been achieved to date by each team without ruling out what each team can achieve until the end of the competition, guaranteeing the participants the dispute of all matches. -With what criteria would the RFEF choose the two participants in the next Spanish Super Cup beyond the two teams that already have the right, Athletic and Real, in the event that the Championship did not end? -The only scenario contemplated by the Federation is that, once the normality that guarantees the health of the participants has been recovered one hundred percent, the competitions must be resumed until the end to ensure their integrity, but without imposing an inexplicable rush on ourselves. It will be the sporting merits that determine who will play this magnificent Super Cup. Thanks to it, now the modest Spanish Football breathes calmly in the economic field. We have done our job rigorously and the results are there. Modest clubs are guaranteed to the last euro of our grants thanks to initiatives such as this Super Cup. -When do you think the Copa del Rey can be played? Could it be in September, in Seville? -We wish with all our strength, for the Competition, for all the clubs that participated and for the clubs that have come this far, that it can be played with the La Cartuja Stadium to overflow and that this day is a great party. It would be imprudent for me to talk about dates, but I can assure you that, from the Federation, we are going to work so that it is with the public and is a success for the two finalist fans, Athletic Club and Real Sociedad. I am against pressing with the aim of starting as soon as possible, that is not our mood. We prefer to choose the path of safety and health.-Are you afraid that FIFA will occupy the dates for the next Spanish Super Cup? -I want to publicly show my gratitude to Gianni Infantino and Aleksander Ceferin because at the moment they have shown great sensitivity and social awareness looking for the best for the world of football. I know that they are going to make decisions, weighing the damages and listening to us at all times. -You were president of AFE, the players union. Do you fear ERTE in Spanish football? What will the RFEF do about it? -Look, the government has adopted extraordinary measures, some of them have to do with issues such as ERTEs, although at the same time global aid has been announced for the significant sum of two hundred billion euros. In reality, this issue is union and employer rather than federal. Still we have done things. We have guaranteed all grants to non-professional clubs. Everything, down to the last penny. In addition, we have designed a package of extraordinary measures in this regard that seeks to guarantee the viability of clubs and the salary of footballers. This week I will present it after meeting the Presidents of Territorial Federations. In relation to professional clubs, we trust that from LaLiga as many measures as necessary will be adopted, as we are doing in the RFEF, in order to guarantee immediate income for the clubs and the salaries of soccer players. We are convinced that, if thousands of Spanish SMEs and freelancers are going to face the crisis, with far fewer resources, adopting as many measures as necessary to maintain their workforce and face this extremely hard blow, an entity like LaLiga will be able to do well through lines of financing, or whatever measures are necessary, to ensure that professional clubs can keep all jobs.-Anyone who has studied law knows that there are misfortunes that cannot be guaranteed? – I am not going to enter controversies, and less in a moment like the present one. We take many complaints to the Federation by La Liga, and the courts are giving us the reason. This type of comment really won’t take away a minute of my time. The only thing I think about is how to help to get out of this situation, in the sick, in the deceased and in the family and in helping in what we can. LaLiga is communicating that they could lose hundreds of millions of euros, it is a terrible scenario and we must help each other. If you need help and we can add, we will be there. The world of football must demonstrate that it is up to the tough circumstances we are experiencing.-What do you plan to do with the elections in the RFEF? -As the country is, the least I can think of is thinking about the elections. Until Spain returns to normal, I will not call them. I think it is an act of responsibility and now we are only committed to the country getting ahead. The elections must be set aside. The important thing is that in the last two years a great job has been done in the Federation. -What is your assessment of your work in these two years as president? There are territories that did not support him when he arrived, such as Andalusia, the Basque Country, Galicia and Aragon, and which have now changed their minds. How have you convinced them? -Our territories are the heart of the Federation, and we have worked together. Now, in this crisis we are more than ever and I want to publicly acknowledge it to all presidents. We have revitalized competitions such as the Super Cup and the Federation Cup. The new Copa del Rey has been contested with the most successful format in the history of Spain. We have doubled our income from 170 to 340 million euros despite having no public subsidies. With this increase comes much more money to Second B and Third. It has also allowed more money to be injected into the First Iberdrola and Iberdrola Challenge. Indoor soccer is now integrated and attended. He is no longer the “eternal neglected” of yesteryear. For the first time, women’s futsal has been subsidized and men’s futsal has been equipped with more tools. For the first time, beach soccer has its own budget of three million euros per year. The Territorial Federations have become more professional with the financing of the RFEF and grassroots football has more attention and budgets than ever. There is still room for improvement and we will continue to do so, but we have done better than expected. This has been possible because the best ones surround me. We are a great team! Soccer people appreciate the great effort that has been made. But the most important thing, beyond everything else, has been to make the Selection Residence available to the Ministry of Health in the fight against the pandemic. I am especially proud of this, and also all the employees of the Federation and especially those who work in the Residence. -How do you think it is for Luis Enrique to postpone the Eurocup for one year? -Like all Spaniards, we would have been excited to play the Euro Cup in normal conditions this summer, but Luis Enrique is a man who always looks for the positive side. He will have more time to mature his project and will be able to recover some players who are injured and who have an important role in the National Team. But above all, what I assure you is that he, like all Spaniards, is concerned that we get ahead. He is a man with whom I have lived special moments that remain for him and for me, and that gives me a lot of security, the security of having a great man by my side, as a person and as a coach. -What message do you send to the football family at a time like this? -Fundamentally a message: I am proud of them. This question reminds me of my time as a footballer, when we were in a locker room going through a bad time and in front of these cases all the players were united. We will continue with our Administration, health, State Security Forces and Bodies and all those who join in such a complex moment. We will do so by showing our most caring and humane side. The message that I send to the whole of Spanish society is thankful for the awareness of the citizens and unity so that together we can overcome this virus.-How do you think this season will be remembered? -I don’t know how it will be remembered. I would like it to be remembered as a time when Spanish football was in solidarity with society. Hopefully over the years it will be remembered as the “season of solidarity”.last_img read more