“In the 69th minute I decided to suspend the match as a result of the…
“In the 69th minute I decided to suspend the match as a result of the following: when visiting goalkeeper D. Armando Ribeiro de Aguiar Malda was about to put the ball into play finding himself 2 metres away for the right post, he received a strong blow to the right eyelid caused by a plastic bottle containing fifty centilitres of liquid which had been thrown from the back of the northern stand. After having received immediate medical attention and seeing the seriousness of the injury and of the situation it had generated, I informed the captains of the definite suspension of the encounter. I’d like to point out that the nearest ball boy quickly picked up the bottle hiding it from me. Private Security Company Eulen, S.A. D’s security coordinator Pedro Hurtado Herrera informed us that the suspect was surrounded by the crowd, permitting the Private Security Company to identify him. Details of the suspect are as follows and according to the information provided by the company: D. Carmelo Peña Rodriguez, ID(DNI) 28931435 B. D. Luis Rodríguez Fontanilla local football field delegate told us that he is not a member of the club. The Security Coordinator for the encounter, National Police Chief Inspector nº 16256 informed us that the suspect had been arrested. The coordinator of the Security Company already mentioned brought us the bottle which presumably caused the incident, confirming the information already mentioned and adding that the bottle is of the Valtorre brand which according to the field delegate is the brand sold at the stadium. I’d also like to point out that the already mentioned stadium security coordinator (Inspector number 16256) came into my changing room just after making the decision to suspend the encounter making the following observations: Why suspend the match? Who are you to make this decision without me? According the Sports Law you can’t do this”. After having made these declarations he was invited to leave my changing room. In summary, the match was suspended in the 69th minute with the score being Real Betis 1-Athletic Club 2, play having stopped whilst waiting for the Athletic Club goalkeeper to kick the ball into play (…)”.
These are the words of referee, Clos Gómez, found in the match report of a triumphant but bitter encounter which could cost one of our players, Armando Ribeiro, dearly. An important quantitative victory, however, one which should remind us above all that football is out of our hands more and more each day.
Now everyone in the world will put their hands on their heads in shock and not even the closure of the stadiums will do. Then one must follow a trail of steps from committee to committee so that in the end the sanction is not complied with or you are forced to play two or three kms from the closed enclosure. The astronomical fines of the Anti-Violence Committees are not enough, nor the crowd prohibitions at the stadiums which are so hard to control and even the public look with a certain degree of repugnance at the difficult task of expelling their own members who have been accused of throwing objects onto the field.
Spectators, referees, coaches etc and now a footballer is the star of the show par excellence. How far should permissibility go? Is there any doubt? It’s not pleasant having to beg the spectators day after day not to throw objects onto the field, we know this has to be done, but this has nothing to do with sport. It’s illogical that we have to appeal to the goddess of fortune or any of the other deities so that our goalkeeper is not blinded. We cannot put the safety of the contenders in danger to debate the issue because sanctions don’t hurt, points do. It’s time the Spanish League stood firm. It’s time to be also European and put an end to it. Can you imagine the sanction imposed if we were dealing with an Inter-Continental Club or International match? If a demon runs on field and attacks the referee (example: Denmark-Sweden) the match is lost, there are administrative sanctions and economic ones as well. How can you calculate what happened at Ruiz de Lopera? Does it depend on the degree of eyesight that Armando may lose? Or on the period he is out of action? Or on the disconsolate tears of those terrified little boys who saw their father fall to the ground from a distance and with blood on his face? Or on whether he was unconscious or not? Or maybe on the number of front pages he makes it on? Or if the special correspondent of a radio station which has a massive audience thinks that Yeste is acting just before having to leave the field? Where will it all end?
Thinking about how the world of football functions nowadays and everything which revolves around it this can happen to anyone and we all have an undeniable degree of responsibility. Nevertheless, unfortunately, this is nothing new at Ruiz de Lopera, a field where their aim, despite having hit the nail on the head with our footballer, is bad, no matter how some people in the boxes like to boast and blame the referee for exciting the crowd in the worst possible way.
One year and seventeen days ago, more or less at the same time, another professional had to leave this field seriously injured in a stretcher. Sympathetic words from Betis now, however, these words are hollow when reality tells us that the ball boy hid the bottle, the brand of which is sold at the stadium or identifies the thrower only after he had gone up and down all the stairs, and then to the first row to wait and see the result. It’s at that moment that the vast majority of the public became aware of the damage caused to its club which is battling it out to save itself from being burnt.
The debate isn’t whether we are going to go back there to play this season (neither are we willing nor is it logical) or whether there are dates available in the calendar. Of course. There are many days in the almanac but this is not the problem, the problem is of dignity. After such intense pain both physically and mentally, the image is worth more than a truck full of words, no one felt like celebrating the triumph in the Athletic changing room. It’s not fair that our team who were ahead on the score board twice thanks to their blood, sweat and tears are forced to take part in a masquerade where our rival could start from scratch and start afresh as if nothing had happened. The facts are plain to see: this is a repeat offence and what happened without a doubt is extremely serious, but we have no say in it. The verdict handed down should not mock the events that have occurred in the League, but enable the League to get back some of its squandered prestige by giving and not spoiling.
And before the final curtain call there was an actual football match in progress with its usual ingredients, tactics, goals, controversy and which Athletic Club had won by 1-2, after having suffered and giving it their all in order to triumph at that damn field. Yeste scored in the 7th minute after intercepting a pass from Llorente. Mark González scored the equalizing goal in the 35th minute on the rebound, and finally, David López turned the penalty kick into goal in the 65th minute, the penalty was committed by Juanito against Etxeberria. A good but bitter triumph.