Spanish Football Slam ‘Unpatriotic’ La Liga Over Player Coronavirus Tests

Published 03/24/2020, 3:45 AM EDT


Apparently, the Spanish Football Federation is not too happy with La Liga. In fact, president Luis Rubiales dubbed the league as “irresponsible and totally unpatriotic”.

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This was largely with reference to testing players for the coronavirus pandemic instead of regular citizens. According to Rubiales, it showed “a lack of solidarity” with the Spanish people.

As it turns out, La Liga hired a medical service to include 500 coronavirus tests. This was done before the local government declared a state of emergency. Rubiales insisted that players who did not exhibit symptoms did not need to be tested.

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“It seems irresponsible and out of place, that having patients and knowing that the lives of many people are at stake, tests are being used in the first division squads, when there are people who need them,” Rubiales said.

“It’s a lack of knowing the reality of the situation. We are confined, our government has told us to remain at home so it doesn’t matter whether you have the virus or not.”

Spain is the second-worst hit European country by the outbreak behind Italy with 558 deaths and almost 14,000 cases as of March 18. Rubiales urged clubs to help the authorities.

“I ask please that all those [clubs] that have masks, tests or gloves to make them available to the administration,” Rubiales said. “Taking the tests, from our point of view is even illegal, can be punished. We find it a lack of solidarity, totally unpatriotic. The RFEF does not agree, on the contrary.”

How has La Liga been affected?

Real Valladolid announced on Wednesday that they formally rejected the league’s offer of coronavirus test kits for their players on ethical and medical grounds.

Espanyol had previously announced that six members of their first team and staff had contracted the virus following tests. They revealed that all the positive cases were experiencing “mild symptoms.”

Valencia, who played in the Champions League against Atalanta in Milan on Feb. 19. Unfortunately, they are the most affected La Liga club. This is because more than one third of the team and staff are infected, although all cases are “asymptomatic.”

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La Liga side Alaves even confirmed 15 positive cases.

When asked by Spanish outlet Marca on Valladolid’s decision, La Liga president Javier Tebas said he didn’t want to get drawn into a debate.

“I’d rather not get into that. Some of the things that have been said have surprised me. Right now I’d rather abstain from as to why people haven’t wanted the testing kits,” Tebas said.

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Tebas also said that European leagues should be able to restart by mid-May. In other words, the season can reach its conclusion. Sadly, the coronavirus forced the European Championship’s postponement to 2021.

In mid-May we should be able to be back on with all European competitions. All of them. Of course, it depends on how the pandemic evolves.” he concluded.

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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