Javier Clemente Disagrees With Postponing The Copa Del Rey Until Next Season
Javier Clemente is one of the greatest managers to coach Athletic and the last to lead the club to a Copa del Rey title. Since leaving the club in 1986, Clemente has coached several other teams, including two short returns to Athletic, and currently oversees the Basque National Team. Over the years Clemente has always been willing to give his opinion on matters pertaining to Athletic even if some are controversial.
Following Tuesday’s report that the Copa del Rey final has been postponed until fans can safely attend the match, possible dates have already begun to surface. The match must be played at least one week before the 2020/2021 final and there has been talk of doing just that or at least holding the fixture after Christmas. Clemente made it clear in an interview with Onda Vasca that he completely disagrees with the decision.
“Playing the final the week before the 2021 final seems a little ridiculous to me. Imagine that Athletic and La Real are the finalists again, then what? Will one be played at Anoeta and the other at San Mamés? I wouldn’t even bother with the dates, it’s just another thing for you to put in the media and talk about. They should just play it when the La Liga season returns and the two teams agree on a date, be it June, July, August, September, or whenever possible.”
While the possibility of playing the final this season hasn’t been ruled out, it’s highly unlikely that fans will be allowed to attend. It’s now almost certain that the match will have to wait until next season and Clemente questions what that will mean for players who could leave the club.
“The issue for those who finish their contracts this season is also a mess. Beñat and (Mikel) San José aren’t playing at Athletic so it doesn’t affect them much and the squad will be similar if they don’t renew. Aduriz has said that he’s retiring, but can also say that he will continue if he wants to. The other two will continue playing somewhere else if they don’t renew, but not Aduriz.”
Athletic’s squad will look very similar next season as is normally the case, but there could be several changes at Real Sociedad. To Clemente, playing the final after a transfer window doesn’t make sense.
“It’s different for Real. They have players who don’t know if they are going to continue or not, like Martin Odegaard and others. If they lose players or if they buy others then it’s a different team. Right now they have a team that has played very well. Everything can change depending on the date of the final.”
The issue of potential signings is something that will have to be addressed. For now there’s been no word on whether or not players added during the upcoming transfer window or returning from loan will be allowed to play in the final. In the end, waiting to play the final until fans can safely attend has always been the biggest goal and both clubs will work closely with the Spanish Football Federation to work out the remaining details.