Tebas sticks the boot into Sevilla
Sevilla are seething with Javier Tebas over the schedule for the final matchday. Going back a long way, any team playing in a midweek-European final would have their league game brought forward to the previous Friday. However, on this occasion that will not be the case. Sevilla-Athletic will take place on Saturday, kicking off at the same time as Atlético-Celta. Valencia-Real Sociedad will be in action on Friday. Sevilla would have preferred Friday, so as to avail of an extra day to recover. As the Rojiblancos have to play at the same time as the Manzanares outfit, both matches could have been brought forward. That would solve the problem. When Real Madrid and Valencia were Champions League finalists, nine league games were played on the previous Friday to accommodate the two sides.
But Tebas has turned down the request. “Why?” you may ask. Judging by his comments, he seems to have taken umbrage with Sevilla over the team they fielded against Granada. His argument is they have already been sufficiently rested. Sevilla, who had been playing on the Thursday, lined up with a team of reserves and youth academy players, against whom Granada had a field day. The Nazaríes ensured their survival, leaving Rayo, Sporting and Getafe in the relegation mire. Villarreal, while not to the same extent, also set up with a less-than-familiar side against Deportivo, who were able to win and thereby rubberstamp their top-flight status for another season. And by no means are these isolated incidents for clubs that find themselves in similar situations. Managers establish priorities and play weakened teams that can benefit the opponent on a given day.
According to Tebas, Sevilla overstepped the line of acceptability. But Sevilla’s argument is that they are not just involved in one, but two back-to-back finals, which will amount to their 62nd and 63rd games of the season, meaning they will have played more matches than any other Spanish team. With that in mind, any rest goes a long way. Nonetheless, Tebas is not budging on this subject and has made it clear that Sevilla being denied a Friday fixture is a form of punishment for the starting XI selected at the Sánchez Pizjuán on Sunday. Poorly handled, in my opinion. One thing does not need to affect the other. In conclusion, in the build-up to an historic week for the club, this is a fly in the ointment for a fanbase who are counting their coppers to see if they can afford to make both finals.
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