Chaos in Spain as 2nd-tier game suspended after outbreak

Chaos in Spain as 2nd-tier game suspended after outbreak

MADRID — An outbreak of positive COVID-19 tests among players of a second-division club has created chaos in Spanish soccer.

The positive results were announced just hours before Monday’s final round, prompting the suspension of one decisive game and the ire of other clubs who felt they were at a disadvantage.

The match between Deportivo La Coruña and Fuenlabrada was postponed after some Fuenlabrada players tested positive. The entire final round was at risk of being postponed but all of the other matches — which the league originally wanted to be played at the same time — went on as scheduled.

Some clubs said the decision to suspend only one game instead of the entire round affected the outcome of the competition because many teams depended on the result of the Deportivo-Fuenlabrada match.

Elche, for example, was holding on to the last playoff spot and will only keep it if Fuenlabrada loses to Deportivo.

Deportivo would still be fighting to avoid relegation had it played on Monday, but other results sealed its demotion and it will have nothing to play for when its game is rescheduled.

“Obviously a decision has been made that directly affects the integrity of the competition and we believe that it was not fair,” Elche said in a statement. “A situation like the one experienced today shows the importance of strict compliance with the rules and safety and hygiene measures determined by authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Rayo Vallecano had been in a similar position and its chances of promotion depended in part on Fuenlabrada’s result, so it threatened legal action against the decision not to postpone all matches.

Deportivo also said it would consider legal options to defend its interests. It said in a statement that the club complied with all health and security measures and was ready to play the match.

The league — along with the Spanish soccer federation and the nation’s sports council — said the decision not to reschedule all matches was “the solution that best protected the health of players and the overall integrity of the competition.”

Deportivo coach Fernando Vázquez said his team’s rivals benefited by being able to play their games.

“They have an advantage because they don’t have the pressure of our result,” Vázquez told Movistar. “Why couldn’t we play all at the same time, without anybody having a competitive advantage?”

Deportivo, the 2000 Spanish league champion, was relegated to the third division for the second time in club history. The first time was in the 1980-81 season. No other league champion had dropped to the third division since Real Betis in 1947, according to Spanish media.

Fuenlabrada, based just south of Madrid, is trying to reach the top flight for the first time.

The promotion playoffs, which were expected to begin on Thursday, will also have to be delayed. There was no date set for a new game between Deportivo and Fuenlabrada.

The Spanish league did not say how many Fuenlabrada players or club members tested positive. The club said no one who tested positive showed symptoms of the disease. Spanish media said Fuenlabrada was expected to be held in confinement until everyone tested negative again. The club hosted Elche last week.

Spain was one of the hardest-hit countries by the coronavirus. The pandemic had been under control but some surges of new cases have been reported recently.

“It’s a little alarming, we were all congratulating ourselves on how well we were doing as a society,” Vázquez said. “It’s a warning.”

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press

soccer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province still hopes to bring the hospitalization number down before relaxing restrictions. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
14 new deaths, 366 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta

Province nearing 100K COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

The first pages of the book, by Kristy Walker.
Sylvan Lake author pens first children’s book about COVID-19

“The Coronavirus Isn’t Scary” by Kristy Walker teaches children to take care of themselves

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, MLA Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Devin Dreeshen. (Photo Submitted)
Ag Minister announces 20% off crop insurance for Alberta farmers

Dreeshen says this will support job creators and boosting rural economy during a difficult time

An x-ray tech demonstrates the new equipment in use. (Photo Submitted)
New diagnostic equipment now operational at Sylvan Lake AACS

In August it was announced that Stephen and Jacqueline Wuori donated $850,000 to AACS

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Photo submitted)
Central Alberta researchers recognized for studies in agricultural sciences

Jessica Sperber of Ponoka and David MacTaggart of Lacombe awarded prestigious scholarship

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

A ground worker wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 unloads lobsters from a WestJet Airlines flight at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Trudeau teases stricter travel measures; Canadians flying to U.S. now need COVID test

Prime minister says measures need to not hurt imports and essential trade

(Photo submitted)
Ponoka RCMP receives new police puppy trainee

Detachment says goodbye to ‘Maja’ and welcomes ‘Neutron’

Art Kempf, originally from the Stettler area but now living in Lacombe, is pictured here with his late wife Lillian. Art’s 100th birthday is coming up on Feb. 22nd.
photo submitted
Former Stettler area resident Art Kempf will be celebrating a very special day next month

Kempf, now a Lacombe resident, marks his 100th birthday on Feb. 22nd

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie are serving sit-down customers in their Mirror diner to protest health restrictions that they say are unfair to restaurants and other small businesses. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
Central Alberta restaurant owner defies health restrictions by serving diners

Whistle Stop Cafe owner says pandemic restrictions unfair to restaurants and small businesses

The Northwest Territories flag flies on a flagpole in Ottawa on July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta man charged with threatening Northwest Territories public health officer

Police did reveal the nature of the threats, but said it was concerning

A healthy volunteer receives an injection in this undated handout image provided by Providence Therapeutics. Human clinical trials have begun in Toronto for a proposed COVID-19 vaccine by a Canadian company. Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says 60 subjects will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Providence Therapeutics
*MANDATORY CREDIT*
Calgary company begins human clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate

If successful, the vaccine could be released by the end of the year

Most Read