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

Just Posted

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

Most Read