Former Athletic President José María Arrate Agrees With Postponing The Cup Final Until Next Season
The status of the Copa del Rey final is in the air. Despite UEFA’s request that all matches be played this season if possible, a decision was recently made to postpone the final until fans are able to safely attend the match. The situation could change in the days and weeks ahead, but many are in agreement that the game shouldn’t be played without fans.
“It doesn’t seem exaggerated to me to play the final even a week before the next one,” said former Athletic president José María Arrate on Copa Bilbao. “I don’t know if we are going to be able to live a final like this again in our lifetimes. It would be unfortunate to waste it. I agree with what the clubs have decided with the Spanish Federation to postpone it. It would be a shame not to, it would be a disaster.”
Pushing the final until next year could prevent Aritz Aduriz from being able to feature as he originally planned to retire at the end of the season. “I want him to play and score a goal,” said Arrate.
On the other hand, having league match without fans is easier to accept. “Playing the league games behind closed doors is a lesser evil. It’s a formula to save the football economy and guarantee the survival of the clubs. There is no doubt that football without fans is very unnatural, but you have to take wise steps.”
La Liga football could return soon as plans are being made for players to return to training in early May. However, doing so would require routine testing which has been met by frustration as medical personnel in the country are still low on testing supplies.
“I think it’s great for football players to be tested, but a lot of those who need it more haven’t had tests. They should be tested first and then everyone else. Those who are going out on the balconies to applaud are doing so for the ones who are showing their faces every day to protect others.”
Like many others, Arrate is excited for football to return but has concerns over whether or not it’s safe at this point. The health crisis must continue to be prioritized far above football.
“Football is very important, but there are things that are much higher priorities such as the testing that must be done in the world of healthcare. It should be kept in mind that they are the ones that will ultimate remove the chestnuts from the fire when we have any health problems. The fact that everyone who is dedicated to healthcare hasn’t been tested seems to be a real disaster to me.”
The former Athletic president openly criticized the government for the ongoing problems with healthcare workers still in need of supplies and aid. The situation in Spain has been improving which has allowed La Liga to begin planning to resume the campaign and Athletic are prepared to return to Lezama once permission to do so is given.