On Saturday there was no game between Reus and Las Palmas in LaLiga Second Division, leaving the fixture list for Matchday 22 incomplete. And it is assumed now that the second half of the season will be played with one fewer team – something that up until now had been unprecedented at this level.
The sudden disappearance of clubs in Spain’s lower leagues has happened before, but always from Second Division B downwards. Now we are talking about the dissolution of a club in the Second Division and at a time of severe financial difficulties that have been clearly evident.
Having sidestepped his duties as Reus’ owner and largest shareholder, Joan Oliver has dedicated money to other things and stopped paying the players. Now, he is looking for an unlikely buyer to take over the club.
Of course, to be fair, it should be added that if there are no precedents at this level, it is because that, previously, clubs leaving staff and players without pay was not deemed such a serious matter. And the string of players who have left the profession as a result of unpaid wages is immense.
Occasionally, the unsustainable situation stretched over time made a Malaga, a Burgos or a Logroñés collapse. But, thanks to some legal tricks, the clubs would be re-established later with a different name but not much else. Now that cannot be done anymore.
Reus’ agony, on the other hand, has been coupled with the exemplary attitude of the players, who continued to play and win games when the players’ union, the AFE itself encouraged them to give up – a scenario that caused another disagreement between LaLiga and the Federation, who, even in a crisis situation like this one, cannot bring themselves to see eye to eye.
For the rest of the clubs in the Second Division, it has at least happened at the least worst moment, at the turn of the second half of the season. Reus has played everyone once in the first half of the season, meaning the points from those fixtures stand.
Some teams played Reus at home, and some away, which of course is not completely equitable, but the timing of the club’s closure, albeit unfortunate, has happened at the right moment.