Corona crisis in Spanish football: no putty, no distraction

Given the devastating situation, Spain's football quarantine itself is in an unsuspicious place: the bosses of the football league, Javier Tebas, and the association, Luis Rubiales, who at the beginning of the pandemic still debated every detail as usual, are currently foregoing sayings and visions. The language regulation still applies, according to which the season should be played under all circumstances. The league has also drawn up a four-stage protocol for resuming training, which provides for intensive tests in the players' environment.

At the moment there are not even enough tests in Spain for patients with suspected acute corona. Those who report mild or moderate symptoms are simply asked to isolate themselves. Many soccer players passed their test kits on to those in need. So no one knows when the protocol can come into force, and anyway it seems clear that games are only conceivable in summer at the earliest and then only in empty places. "One of the strictest curfews in the world." Atlético Madrid accepted a 70 percent drop in salary during the crisis, the players – like all other Spaniards – have not even been able to go jogging or walking for three weeks. Police and the military monitor "one of the strictest curfews in the world," as the government regularly stresses when critics call for even stricter bans. Loosening is only tentatively requested; the situation is so serious.

If they do come, at the earliest after Easter, rather in May, it will be about businesses and businesses, of which only the "essential" are currently allowed to open. Football stadiums, reports the newspaper "As", citing government sources, are more in the last place. Even if, according to a study by the PwC auditor, La Liga directly or indirectly contributes 1.37 percent to the gross domestic product (and thus significantly more than the Bundesliga with 0.11 percent) .Where else in football-crazy Spain is little else, the relevant WhatsApp are -Groups in the off, the nightly radio debates come from the home studio and the cultural assets of the sports press, which are already threatened by the newspaper crisis, struggle for orientation: Industry leader "Marca" also offers non-sports reporting for the first time in its 82-year history. The bars, otherwise the best buyers of the sports daily newspapers, are closed. The kiosks sell half less than usual.

As the recession looms, media speculate about megatransfers, and the editorial staff struggles to fill the pages – in addition to all cancellations, postponements, salary cuts or persistence messages from the home gyms of the stars, reflex stories have to be used for this. But what inspires fans' fantasies in summer and is one of the best sellers of the genre is currently only acting like a sad parallel theater. For example, as "Mundo Deportivo" on Thursday, FC Barcelona prefers Neymar from Paris or Inters Lautaro Martínez from Milan should acquire, in large letters headline: "Both!" Not even 4000 readers took part in the corresponding online survey by evening; at better times it would be several tens of thousands.

It must already be a master of escapism, who wants to be explained at the moment that, thanks to their exit clauses, the attackers can be had for 180 million or 111 million euros – while a recession is emerging, which in its brutality is probably still the traumatic financial crisis for Spain As a result, public tolerance for the clubs' debt policy declined, which led to more tax ethics and accounting discipline – and ultimately reorganized Spanish football. Now the industry is not only indirectly affected by the loss of sponsors or subsidies. The love of football has so far survived in SpainBarça, Atlético and other clubs have already registered temporary layoffs and short-time work, and even if the calendar is frantic with games without stadium viewers everything shouldn't be good. Ticket sales, VIP packages and museum tickets recently brought FC Barcelona 151 million euros per season, and the lucrative summer trips to Asia and the USA will no longer be necessary, and marketing and merchandising will suffer as a result. Apart from the fact that kickers do less on TV in front of empty stands, the love for football, also for him as a circus, has so far survived in Spain. During decades of dictatorship, isolation and fatalism, the post-war generations got to know him as a diversion and projection surface. Rivalries like the one between Madrid and Barcelona symbolically exaggerated him – but also created a connecting interest. Where the government is now under fire for its crisis management despite all appeals for solidarity and patriotism, football is failing for the first time, as a cement as well as a distraction – at least for the most part. In Madrid, the sports press speculates with the prospect of a collateral gain. Because it is said in Italy that Juventus can no longer afford Cristiano Ronaldo, she dreams him back to Real. Should the prodigal son come back, at least this story would have a happy ending. In the meantime, it's one of the better illusions for hard days.
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