Athletic Supporters Urge The Club To Postpone The Copa Del Rey Final Until Fans Can Attend
Less than 24 hours have passed since UEFA gave an ultimatum for the Copa del Rey final. Now Athletic and Real Sociedad must choose between playing the historic derby this season behind closed doors with the winner qualifying for Europe, or postponing it until next season when fans can attend but the European spot will be given to the club that finishes 7th in the table. Understandably, supporters have been very vocal about the situation.
Without polling every single fan it’s impossible to gauge the overall view on the ultimatum. However, the vast majority of Athletic supporters on social media have fervently called for the final to still be postponed until next season. For many, choosing to play the final without fans in hopes of winning a place in Europe would defy the very values of the club.
Several polls on social media have all yielded the same result, although these are certainly imperfect. Fans want the final to be postponed and the votes haven’t even been close. Furthermore, Athletic Peñas have also started issuing statements appealing to the club to postpone the final.
“Athletic is a different club,” says Aitor Pereira, the president of the Association Of Athletic Peñas. “If we only competed to win we would do so under different conditions than those we have chosen. I’m a supporter of football with the fans and I would wait as long as possible to play the final. Hearing the Europa League theme should be secondary to playing with the fans which is independent of the fact that the final is against Real Sociedad. Football is for the fans.”
Peña Athletic Karajo, Peña Garras Taldea, and Peña Lehoi Beltz have all issued statements in support of postponing the final. The three supporters group agree that playing in Europe is important for the club and valuable in many ways, but that winning the Cup title is the ultimate goal and playing the final without fans would be unacceptable. As they argue, Athletic and supporters have always taken pride in the fact that the club is unique and now is a time when that must be proved. Football without fans is not football.