Last April, in the midst of the pandemic, all clubs decided to resume competition in order to at least save a large proportion of television income and try to avoid an extreme economic situation. One that would cause the sector to crash and ultimately result in large-scale job losses. The agreement reached as part of the Viana Pact was an example of solidarity and unity amongst the clubs, with everyone's unwavering support for resuming competition enabling us to save the majority of our income stream.
However, over the months we were competing in this context, there were a number of factors which meant that not all clubs in the league were playing under the same conditions. For example:
- Games couldn't be kicked off simultaneously on the final day of the SmartBank La Liga's due to the cancellation of the Deportivo de La Coruña – CF Fuenlabrada match. There was no easy solution because their cancellation obviously affected other teams as well.
- The absence of fans and crowds in the stadiums was a significant issue for all clubs, but it had a much greater impact for us given that we were playing against five direct rivals in the fight to avoid relegation.
- Clubs like Valencia FC and indeed ourselves have tried our utmost to play normally, despite the fact that throughout March and April a good number of players in the professional ranks had been infected with COVID-19. They have also suffered the after-effects of the illness which can last for several weeks.
Even though the competition is now ended for all except the Second Division, as we've pointed out, from a sporting perspective, the situations we've described are wholly unfair given that in the final stages of the league we weren’t able to compete under the same conditions as before matches were suspended.
The economic impact of COVID-19 will stretch into the 20-21 season. If we add to that the economic impact of relegation, the cumulative punishment we'll suffer is both devastating and unfair for everyone affected.
RCD Espanyol understands that the health and economic impact of the global pandemic have brought about high levels of uncertainty. As such, it would be understandable to reward titles such as League champions, qualifications for European competitions, promotions etc. but we believe that it is completely unacceptable to doubly penalise those who are already suffering the most.
Taking into account all the determining factors which have arisen since the return to competition and in light of the events that have occurred in recent days, in which various clubs have expressed their opposition to the injustice and lack of solutions, RCD Espanyol is demanding the cancellation of relegations from this season's La Liga organised competitions, as has happened in those organised by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). The potential loss of income we'd face as a result of such a significant decision could be offset by everyone's support, with different solutions that would a financial damage to those clubs affected. Thus far, this is the management's greatest concern and the main argument they have put forwards.