Leganés fuming after Braithwaite loss: "Rule unfair and Barcelona have benefitted"
Leganés general director, Martin Ortega, said that the Spanish FA's rule that has allowed Barcelona to sing Braithwaite has caused his club "irreperable damage".
Heads are rolling at Leganés after the loss of star striker Martin Braithwaite, who was confirmed as Barcelona’s new signing this Thursday morning.
Barça were given permission from LaLiga and the Spanish FA to sign an emergency striker following the operation of Ousmane Dembélé, who is set for a lay-off of up to six months to recover from the procedure to correct a ham string tear.
The Catalan club had already lost Luis Suárez to a long-term injury some weeks before and Braithwaite will come in as cover for the Uruguayan centre forward. Barcelona paid the Danish striker’s 18-million-euro release clause, handing him a contract until 2024.
However, as the current rules stand, Leganés will not be allowed to sign a replacement for Braithwaite, much to the frustration of the club’s president, Victoria Pavón, and general director, Martin Ortega. On Thursday, Leganés asked the Spanish FA if the law could be amended to allow them to sign a replacement, but their request was rejected.
“It’s something we saw coming and it has certainly made us weaker,” said Pavón as she was confronted by reporters outside Leganés’ Butarque stadium. “There is nothing more to say, the damage has already been done.”
Ortega: Barcelona know damage it has done
Ortega, meanwhile, gave further details of Leganés' stance on the issue in a press conference on Thursday, stating that the club believes the rule is unfair and has caused “irreparable damage”.
“The current regulations are against the integrity of the competition and against the right that all of us clubs have to compete on equal terms. It is almost irreparable damage, but we will put all our efforts into solving it,” he said.
He added: “Barcelona knows the damage it has done [to us] with the departure of Braithwaite… We believe the rule is unfair. Barcelona has benefited from that regulation. The injured party is Leganés.”
Leganés hold no grudges against Braithwaite
While the situation has left the club frustrated, Ortega holds no grudges against Braithwaite, offering his gratitude to the Danish striker and wishing him the best for the future.
“He has been a gentleman. He trained as normal yesterday even knowing he could get injured. He has been a great professional at Leganés. Just yesterday he came to say goodbye to all the staff at the club and to inform us of the situation. We wish him the best of luck,” stated the Leganés director.