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Rubiales: "Footballers are human, you can't expect them to play every two days"

Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales spoke today about the most pressing issues concerning Spanish football during the coronavirus crisis.

Luis Rubiales acudió a la Federación para hablar con sus 'barones' territoriales.
Luis Rubiales acudió a la Federación para hablar con sus 'barones' territoriales.EFE

RFEF president Luis Rubiales gave a press conference via video-link this afternoon to discuss measures being considered to alleviate the pressure on Spanish clubs during the coronavirus crisis and announced that a help package would be launched.

When domestic competition resumes, will there be matches every two days?

It's not viable to play every 48 hours. We don't like making predictions and now isn't the right moment to star drawing up fixtures lists. We still do not have a date when competition can return. The only important date right now is the one when we overcome this pandemic. Health comes before everything else. The president of the AFE mentioned in a meeting that they would be open to playing every 48 hours - a comment which greatly surprised me. That's why we have requested a medical study. There's no need to push players to the limit. Those of us who have played football know that playing every 48 hours is inhumane. Players aren't machines.

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No date set for LaLiga to return after coronavirus crisis

What will be the economic cost if the seasons overlap?

There are two possible routes, one is to resume competition as soon as possible whatever the cost, the other is putting health first and the latter is where we stand. If we end up overlapping into next season then money will be lost which is why we are offering a credit plan, one which will guarantee the rights of professional clubs.

Have you proposed that LaLiga take out a 500 million to safeguard professional football?

The idea of asking for a 500 million euro loan depends on whether this season's fixtures extend into next season. Because we feel it's impossible to resume the league in May. The military are setting up field hospitals in Madrid as we speak, so how are we going to have football back by May? The other scenario would be play matches from June onwards. If that means economic setbacks, then we will organise credit. That is an option which we have put forward to LaLiga.

Do you think this season's LaLiga will be concluded?

Our idea is for the season to be completed. The only way to do that is to reach the end, whenever that might be. We don't want to resume football at any cost, but right now we have to give the teams who are currently in the relegation places a chance of saving themselves - and likewise, those who are in a position to be promoted to secure promotion... Once the country has recovered and our health is guaranteed will be the moment to resume competition, not before.

Will LaLiga games be played behind closed doors?

We have to respect all of the different timetables and commitments - from the national team to LaLiga to the youth categories. Now is not the right time to be squabbling, we need to reach agreements. If the government declares that games should be played behind closed doors then we will do whatever they tell us. But our plan is to play with the public present. Then the clubs will have their own say.

What will happen to the players who will be too old to take part in the Olympics, now the Games have been postponed until 2021?

I have to extend my thanks to Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, who we have been speaking to about the Games. I told him that we felt that the Games had to be postponed. It would be unfair if the players who would have gone to the Games, won't be able to next year as they'll be over the age limit. It would only be fair to allow those players be at the Games next year.

What will happen to the players whose contracts are due to expire on 30 June?

We are thinking about extending the deadline beyond 30 June. UEFA is thinking along similar lines. First and foremost however, is health, then finishing the various different competitions. We are hoping that we will finish the season as planned but we have to end with the same rules that we started with.

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RFEF in favour of Cup finals to be played with public

What about the Copa del Rey final?

The Copa del Rey, as well as the Copa de la Reina, should be played in front of the fans. That's our idea, although we don't have control over all of the various factors. We don't know what the authorities will say but we are hoping to play both final with public in attendance - out of respect for all of the clubs who have taken part, the finalists and their fans.

Is this the moment to make peace with Javier Tebas?

Now isn't the time for tension, we all have to pull together. I extend my hand to Javier so that agreements can be reached. It won't change my opinions, or his, but now is the time when we have to join forces, be united and find solutions.

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Casillas beating Rubiales in popularity polls

In all of the polls conducted for the RFEF presidency, Iker Casillas has gained more votes than you... 

I' mot going to talk about elections because all of my energy is focused on the coronavirus crisis. I respect the polls but I'm not going to talk about elections, I have other issues to worry about.

What will happen if the coronavirus resurfaces when the league has resumed?

There are no answers to what might happen when football returns, if people are infected, if teams need to go into quarantine again... obviously all of that worries us a lot. That's why we have called for an in-depth medical study. The statistics are changing every day, and right now we are in a very bad moment with the pandemic escalating. That means that we need calm and why we are sending out a message of hope and unity.