Athletic Players Frustrated By The Club’s “Timid” Response To UEFA
Fans are angry with Athletic’s official response to UEFA following the Copa del Rey final ultimatum. The governing body has ruled that if the Cup final isn’t played this season then the last Europa League spot will go to the team that finishes 7th in the La Liga table. Supporters and players have defended the position that the final shouldn’t be played without fans and the club had the opportunity to do the same.
Less than 24 hours after UEFA’s ruling was given the club issued a statement which didn’t even mention the possibility of postponing the final until fans can attend. Instead, Athletic only addressed the issue of 7th place being awarded European qualification in the event that the season isn’t completed.
The club is likely trying to appeal UEFA’s decision which could be why a firm stance wasn’t taken. However, to not even mention any intent to prioritize fans angered supporters and frustrated the first team squad.
According to a report from Juanma Velasco of Marca, the statement came as a shock to the players who saw it for the first time when it was released to the public. The message has been referred to as a “timid response” to UEFA and the players were unhappy that the club didn’t take a stand in favor of postponing the final. Velasco went as far to say that the players “can’t understand” why the issue wasn’t even addressed on some level.
Moments after the club issued the statement Yuri Berchiche took to social media to make his opinion clear. The left-back posted a picture of Velasco’s report highlighting the portion that mentioned the players not understanding and included the caption, “I don’t understand it either, this final belongs to everyone.”
Along with Berchiche, Ibai Gómez and Iñaki Williams have also spoken out in favor of postponing the final. The players and fans are clear, the final shouldn’t take place behind closed doors. In time Athletic will have to address the issue and take a stand one way or another, but ignoring it altogether was a poor decision that hasn’t gone over well with the players or the fans.
Yuri Berchiche making his opinion very well known.
He posted a screenshot of an article which points out that the club didn’t defend the position of playing the final with fans with the caption “I don’t understand it either. This final belongs to everyone.” pic.twitter.com/i9z2mJGTqg
— Inside Athletic (@InsideAthletic) May 1, 2020