Athletic Club Denies Having Met With Eduardo Berizzo The Day Before Firing Kuko Ziganda
Over the last few weeks it has become undeniably clear that Eduardo Berizzo is Athletic Club’s dream hire for the manager position. The two sides have reportedly had several meetings over this time, but have yet to come to an agreement mainly out of respect for Kuko Ziganda who is still coaching the team. On Thursday a joint press conference was conducted and it was announced that Ziganda would not continue as the manager after this season, which led to an interesting story. A few reporters in Bilbao claimed that Athletic representatives met with Berizzo on the terrace of the Ercilla Hotel in broad daylight less than 24 hours before announcing that Ziganda would be leaving.
If this meeting did take place, it isn’t a good look for Athletic who have tried to keep negotiations in the background so as not to disrespect Ziganda. Meeting a potential manager in public at one of the most prestigious hotels in the city just hours before firing the current coach definitely isn’t the most classy thing to do. However, when the reports first started on social media the club acted very fast to call out those reporters and sources of the story, saying that there was absolutely no truth to them at all. On Saturday, Athletic Club finally released a statement denying the report.
Athletic Club wishes to express, firmly and with the greatest possible clarity, to its members and fans that the alleged information that TeleBilbao and El Correo have spread in the las few days is ABSOLUTELY FALSE; despite the fact that Athletic Club have sent warnings, privately and even publicly, of the falsity of their claims.
Specifically, Athletic Club wants to state that last Wednesday, 9 May, no presentative of Athletic Club, neither its President, nor any member of the Board of Directors, nor any other person in connection to the club met with Eduardo Berizzo, or with any other coach or representative, at any hotel in Bilbao or anywhere else.
We are aware of the great impact that false information can have, in terms of how the public can perceive it and how it can affect those involved, either by means of communication that is supposedly serious, or via social networks. It is, therefore, an evidence that the spreading of hoaxes has influences in all areas and is, in this context, a matter relating to our institution that Athletic Club is not willing to have repeated.
Since the press release, El Correo have come out to defend their report that the meeting took place. They have at least four unnamed witnesses who claim to have seen Vice President José Angel Corres waiting outside of the Ercilla hotel. After a few minutes he was joined by General Director Jon Berasategi who was escorting Eduardo Berizzo and the trio made their way to the terrace where they presumably discussed the Argentine becoming the next manager of Athletic Club.
There is one big thing that should be noted in the club’s denial about having met with Eduardo Berizzo, or anyone else, at a hotel in Bilbao on the day before Ziganda’s exit was confirmed. They did not deny having met with Berizzo at other points and it could be telling that they didn’t address other reports which claim that they have been in talks throughout this entire week. It is clear that Athletic believes this specific story is extremely damaging to their image and they want the reports to stop, but it is only this specific story that they have an issue with. They have already met with Berizzo several times now and, unless something changes, he will become the next manager of Athletic Club.