Madrid takes on opponents off the field after game postponed

ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 07, 2017 06:35 PM
Madrid takes on opponents off the field after game postponed
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, centre, celebrates with teammate Sergio Ramos, left, and Casemiro after scoring their side's second goal against Real Sociedad during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Ronaldo scored once in Real Madrid's 3-0 victory. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

TALES AZZONI, AP Sports Writer


MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid's only opponent this week has been off the field.

Unable to play over the weekend because its Spanish league game at Celta Vigo was postponed by of bad weather, the Spanish leaders traded blows with a local mayor who accused them of improperly pressuring to keep the game scheduled despite security concerns.

Upset with the mayor's comments, Madrid took the time to release an official note condemning the "inappropriate" and "totally inaccurate" statements.

Sunday's match was called off after Vigo authorities deemed the Balaidos Stadium unsafe for spectators because of damage caused to the venue's roof by heavy wind.

"I expected cooperation from a team of Madrid's grandiosity, not pressure," Vigo Mayor Abel Caballero said Monday. "It's only a football match. Even for Madrid, it's only a football match. In my opinion, there was an improper controversy prompted by Real Madrid."

The postponement created problems for Madrid because of an already tight schedule that includes decisive games in the Spanish league and in the last 16 of the Champions League. The club already had a game in hand in the league, at Valencia, because of its participation at the Club World Cup in December.

"Real Madrid regrets the unfortunate statements made by the mayor of Vigo, in which he states that this club disregarded the security measures required for the (match) to go ahead," the club said. "Not only are the mayor's comments inappropriate, they are also totally inaccurate, because at no point in time did Real Madrid question the security measures in place at Balaidos."

Madrid said it merely proposed alternatives to avoid having Sunday's game postponed, including closing the affected seating section under the damaged roof and looking into the possibility of playing at a nearby stadium.

"These proposals were made with a view to avoiding the postponement of the fixture from negatively impacting upon the four competitions, given the knock-on effect it would cause between them, as well as the massive financial losses suffered by television channels from around the world, which will have an impact on future tenders for the sale of broadcasting rights," Real Madrid said.

Celta was also affected by the postponement because it is playing in the Europa League and in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey.

Celta's opponent in the Copa del Rey, Alaves, also complained of the game's postponement, saying it gave its rival's an unfair advantage because it didn't have to play any matches after last week's first leg in Vigo, which ended in a 0-0 draw. It wanted Wednesday's second leg played at a different date so "both teams would play under equal conditions." Its demand was not granted.

The Spanish league defended all the decisions taken regarding the game in Vigo, saying that they were based on requests made by local authorities and with the safety of players and public in mind.

"Abel Caballero said the game couldn't be played and gave his reasons for it," league president Javier Tebas told Spanish sports daily AS. "Those who have doubts about the mayor's decision can make a complaint against him."

The match between Celta and Madrid wasn't the only one that had to be suspended because of bad weather in northern Spain. Friday's match between Deportivo La Coruna and Real Betis also had to be called off because of damage caused by heavy wind at Deportivo's Riazor Stadium.

No date has been set for the rescheduling of the games.

"The calendar is very tight," Tebas said. "But we will find a solution."

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