The Spanish Footballers' Association (AFE) held a clearly evocative assembly yesterday. It was held in the same place where it was first created, forty years ago, in very difficult conditions. Those pioneers fought against a negative mentality. 'Union of millionaires', it was called. They struggled to raise the dignity of their office, and then submitted to authority in the name of their masters of the gallows and the knives of the presidents. Suppressed by the need to be retained, resigned to their financial insecurity, totally at the whim of an uncivilised board of directors, with some honorable exceptions.
The history of that forms part of this country's efforts to modernise, from that period that was called the 'Transition'. Those present included Manolo Esteo, Jose Luis Carceller, Del Bosque, Asensi and others (Juanito was represented by his son; Quino couldn't make it; Villar was affectionately remembered by Del Bosque) who had built something good, and which had worked well over the years. Today's football player is in a very different situation than before. It is very difficult to see that difference for anyone who hasn't known what 'that' was. Because 'that' was a disgraceful situation, and one that a favoured few aimed to remedy.
A new Tebas-Rubiales war
Now there is competition for the AFE, in the form of 'Footballers ON'. Another union, born at a time of fewer difficulties. This is perceived by some as a creation of Tebas, with his ambition, real or imagined, to control everything. They deny it, as does Tebas. The motive of its creation is, they defend, to pay more attention to the lower Segunda B and Tercera divisions. There's something strange in that. A union born to look after the defenceless, but from a bed of riches, backed by beIN Sports and with rewards for its members. The AFE fears this new union and yesterday rejected the new affiliation. It appears that the Tebas-Rubiales war has moved to football unionism.