The Primera Division, or La Liga, is known as one of the slickest, most entertaining leagues in soccer. Yet even those that cover it locally are forced to point out the league is subject to “Crazy kickoff times, atrocious debts, falling attendance in the stadiums, sabotage at a game that was declared high risk, clubs that do not meet the most basic requirements to take part in a professional competition.”
These words come from Roberto Palomar in the Spanish sports newspaper Marca, and they come after Sunday night’s league match between Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano, both of Madrid, was called off after ‘sabotage’ killed the floodlights.
Rayo president Raul Martin Presa said “this was sabotage: cables don’t cut themselves.”
This morning Real Madrid posted a statement on their website that read: “After the deplorable events that took place yesterday … Real Madrid C.F. asked the Professional Football League (LFP) to schedule the game for Monday, during the day in order to avoid any potential problems that might again put it at risk.
“Real Madrid C.F. bases their request on their concern for the lack of dates for the rescheduling of the match should it not be possible for the match to go ahead today.”
Today, through Twitter, LFP vice president Javier Thebes tried to absolve his employers by stating that: “Blaming the LFP for what happened yesterday in Vallecas lacks understanding. At this rate the LFP is guilty of the death of Manolete [a legendary bullfighter who died in the arena during General Francisco Franco’s reign].”
Everyone, it seems, wants to bury their heads in the sand and hope the situation improves. Of course, as Barcelona and Real Madrid grow stronger off the fat of the land, the gulf between the poorer clubs and themselves will widen.
Infrastructure cannot grow if teams fail to compete financially and the LFP stand back and swear blind that all is well. Rainy days seem more regular as debts soar in professional football. How can people fund regeneration of facilities and ensure security, particularly on days when the rich neighbors are popping over and bring thousands of fans with them?
Of course this is the fault of the league, if only in collusion.
However, this failure masks one on a smaller scale. Real was due to play without some key personnel. Despite the win against Manchester City in the Champions League, Jose Mourinho is struggling to keep hold of his hot-tempered squad.
Sergio Ramos has been training with the reserves recently after speaking out against the management. Is his card marked, or will Florentino Perez, the man who masterminded the Galacticos, side with his precious players?
It is uncertain times for Real and the Special One. The saving grace is that sabotage and disaster surround them, so few may notice until it is too late.