Athletic President Aitor Elizegi Defends The Signing Of Bibiane Schulze-Solano With Controversial Statements
It’s been nearly two weeks since rumors broke that Athletic would be signing Frankfurt’s Bibiane Schulze Solano this summer. The daughter of a Basque mother from a very important Basque family, Bibi was born and raised in Germany which meant that she doesn’t meet the understood policy of fielding only players born or formed in the Basque Country.
Despite being the great-granddaughter of club legend Patxo Belauste, fans immediately expressed their displeasure with the expected signing by saying that she didn’t fit the policy. However, others pointed out that she spent all her free time in Ispaster growing up and many of her family members are registered citizens in the Bizkaian town. Bibi also spent three months training with Bizkerre which some have explained meets the qualification of being formed in the Basque Country.
On Monday, Aitor Elizegi finally addressed the situation. The President was speaking at the presentation of new Femenino manager Ángel Villacampa and was asked about Bibi because the club had officially announced the signing hours before. Elizegi stated that she definitely fits the policy, though he reasoning has left many Athletic fans furious and concerned.
“She fits, of course she fits. She fits because of her family, her career, her desire to play with this shirt, her desire to respect this shield, and she fits because she understands the philosophy of this club, which was not written to weaken but to strengthen. Those who know this project and know Bizkaia and Bilbao, know this shield very well. I hope that all the players who come here will have the knowledge that Bibiane has. She will be the Femenino B team and she has the desire to reach the league and has shown commitment to this shield. That’s what the philosophy is.”
The fact that Elizegi never even brought up her time training with Bizkere and highlighted her desire to play for the club as the reason why she meets the policy had fans up in arms. More questions came to the President about the ongoing debate about being born or formed and he brushed them off with another controversial response.
“Born or trained in Euskadi. In this case of a girl who is from Ispaster, who is the daughter of a Basque, I cannot understand why a debate was started when there is no sense for it. It seems artificial to me. I believe that this course is fair and she deserves all the accolades to carry the Athletic shield. Losing these people along the way is not philosophical and it makes us smaller.”
From there, Elizegi defended his Board and their interpretation of the philosophy that they shared during the election campaign. The President believes that he is doing what is best for the club, though he said that he can’t give out Basque passports to truly say who can and can’t play for the club.
“This directive will do the best for the club. We come to join and leave a better club. These projects are written from the word and teammate, but not from the whim. If someone wants to change the letter, they will have to change it as a team, but I defend what I said seven months ago which is that the philosophy is the best way to go and makes us stronger. I like the current interpretation of ‘The Law’ but I wasn’t born to give out Basque passports.”
Elizegi’s controversial statements have left many fans upset and angry. In fact, a petition has already been started asking for the President to resign because he is destroying the club’s philosophy. Other Socios have formally requested that the transfer be overturned. This situation is sure to continue and a time will likely come soon when Aitor Elizegi will have to address the Socios directly.