Spanish Football Federation Considering Postponing The Copa Del Rey Final
The ongoing Coronavirus outbreak is having a tremendous impact on the world and football. In Italy games have been played behind closed doors and other countries could soon follow. While Spain has yet to issue any form of measures that would affect La Liga, it’s not out of the question as the issues continues to escalate.
Next month, on 18 April, Athletic Club are set to meet Real Sociedad in what will be a historic Basque Derby Copa del Rey final. In truth it may very well be the biggest match ever between the two rivals, but the outbreak could impact the fixture which is scheduled to be held at La Cartuja in Seville.
On Monday, the Minister of Tourism, Commerce, and Consumption of the Basque Country, Sonia Pérez, confirmed that the effects of the virus have had an affect on the region. Speaking with Radio Euskadi she said that, “reservations are decreasing and fairs and conferences have been delayed.” When asked if the Cup final could be played behind closed doors she didn’t rule out the possibility.
“Everything is possible because everything is moving very fast and changing,” Pérez responded. “The impact will depend on the magnitude and duration of the disease.” The Spanish Football Federation is also analyzing all of the possible alternatives as confirmed cases of the virus have grown in Spain. According to a report from Antón Meana of El Larguero, the RFEF have not ruled out postponing the Cup final to a later date.
Playing the final behind closed doors or relocation aren’t seen as favorable options. The RFEF are scheduled to meet with Athletic and Real Sociedad on 25 March to make final plans with all parties wanting the match rescheduled to late May. La Liga president Javier Thebas has also publicly stated that league matches will only be suspended if the Spanish government requires doing so, although it is very likely that some games will be held behind closed doors.
UPDATE: La Liga have since announced that the next two weeks of matches will be played behind closed doors. For Athletic this includes this weekend’s match against Atlético Madrid at San Mamés and the following game against Eibar at Ipurua.