Luis Rubiales Willing To Postpone The Copa del Rey Final Past 30 June If Necessary
Yesterday’s UEFA summit ended with the decision to postpone EURO2020 one year to allow domestic football teams the necessary time to finish their respective seasons. While there’s no clarity on just when football will be able to resume, La Liga are hopeful that they will be able to start again in late April or early May with the campaign set to end on 28 June, just two days before player contracts expire.
The announcement was well-received by Athletic who believed that domestic football should be prioritized over international. Along with the confidence that La Liga will be able to resume at some point, the Basque giants are also optimistic that they will be able to play the Copa del Rey final against Real Sociedad which was originally scheduled for 18 April.
“There is no date yet, but it’s true that we value 31 May”, said Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales during a public announcement. “The efforts are being made, but seeing what has happened in the last ten days, obviously, our search for a date has been paralyzed.” Even without the ability to make any firm plans at the moment, Rubiales is already in regular communication with both clubs.
“As the Federation we have the right to set the date for the Cup final on a weekend. The first thing I’ve done is call Jokin Aperribay and Aitor Elizegi. We have spoken for ten to fifteen minutes and the two of them will be a part of the negotiations to see the best date in the best interest of their clubs and, more importantly, their fans. We want a final with fans. We want to facilitate it so that both sets of fans can be at that final. The only way that will change is because the authorities force us to do so, that we would be forced to play it behind closed doors.”
While Rubiales is working to find a date, setting a time at this point could be dangerous. “Right now there is no date,” he reiterated. “We are going to work on calendars, but we aren’t even able to say when we are going to resume sports activities. It would be very risky to reschedule the date now and people re-book hotels, flights, and trips because then we could have to change it again.”
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible to make any concrete plans right now but the collective hope is that the season will be able to resume and be completed before 30 June. Even if that doesn’t happen, Rubiales is open to rescheduling the Cup final even later if necessary.
“In any case we are going to work with the clubs for the sake of the two teams and especially the fans. We haven’t ruled out anything. I have already told the presidents that even with the 30 June deadline, in the interests of the teams and fans, it could take place later. They will have a voice and vote to defend their positions but it’s been easy to talk to them because we’re all looking for the same thing. This historic final should have the level of coverage, support, and beauty that it deserves.”
Athletic, like other clubs, must simply wait for further instructions regarding the football season. Spain is currently under lockdown with no clear idea of when the situation will begin to improve. The safety and health of the citizens is the only priority right now, though Athletic and fans are hopeful that the Copa del Rey final will still take place at some point.