Interviews

Q&A WITH FERNANDO VIDAL

23 Jul 2020
Long interview by Deportivoís president to La Voz de Galicia. He talks about the case with CF Fuenlabrada and the immediate future of the club.

Q: How did you spend the night?
A: Like all the latest, without sleep. In this case, because I was thinking of the indignation of having played the matchday with the exception of our game. That outrage has further increased.

Q: And how have you advanced in the claim about the game Depor-Fuenlabrada?
A: We are studying different strategies at the legal and regulatory level, in addition to the one we said from the beginning. We are right, yesterday [Monday] there was a serious breach of the regulations of the Spanish Football Federation regarding the dispute of the last matchdays of competition. The equality right of all teams has been violated, the competition has been totally adulterated. And just a year ago, the death of Josť Antonio Reyes postponed a full matchday. This is also important, perhaps more important than that, because it affects public health.

Q: Is this the biggest hit you remember in football?
A: Deportivo have suffered several abuses in recent years, with some relegation cases that arenít yet clear, with fixes that havenít had a positive impact for Deportivo [Levante-Zaragoza]. But this is a flagrant outrage for Deportivo and Galician football, because Lugo could have been affected too.

Q: Does Deportivo know if the League wanted to cancel the whole matchday and the Federation or the CSD opposed it?
A: We spoke with VŪctor MartŪn, vice-president of La Liga, and he notified us at six o'clock in the afternoon that in the tests carried out at Fuenlabrada a series of positives had come out, they didnít quantify how many, and that they were talking to the federation and the CSD to see what they wanted to do with the matchday, but the idea that was in the environment was to paralyze the game first. What I told him was that Fuenlabradaís bus shouldnít step into the Riazor so to not cause a public health problem with our employees. I was interested that they hadnít already assembled the changing room, as it had happened, and I confirmed that it didnít happen. So, La Liga confirmed to me that, in order to preserve the health of the players, they were thinking of postponing the game and the rest of the matchday. I went to the stadium with that idea and when I entered, I thought that the whole matchday would be postponed.

Q: Who do you attribute the change of mind?
A: I have no idea. The League notified of the resolution at 21.46, already at the break of the matches. We found out after the rumors about Elche, that it seemed that they werenít going to play, because they had recently faced Fuenlabrada. That was another absolute recklessness, and more than enough reason to postpone that game, and the rest. But we see that the others begin to play, and we write to the federation and the League to show that we oppose and request the suspension of the full matchday.

Q: And what did you say today to Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga?
A: I have explained our position to him, totally contrary to what he thinks, and he insists that the best was done for the general good and a cause of force majeure. I donít understand it, because those who cannot play are harmed. Imagine that everyone played yesterday at the same time and Depor are winning 2-0. The pressure is very negative on the rivals. Itís that the competition has been adulterated, who doesnít see it is that it is blind or doesnít want to see it. Let's not even say the playoff...

Q: The son of Tebas is secretary of Fuenlabradaís board of directors. Does that make you think something?
A: I donít value those subjects. The City Council of La CoruŮa and the Xunta are on this issue, there has been a very negligent attitude and must be sanctioned by both the health authorities and the sporting bodies.

Q: Are you considering asking for the relegation of Fuenlabrada for this reason?
A: We can ask for anything, from that the matchday is repeated, to agree on a political agreement that doesnít harm anyone. Another question may be that route. We will go with all the artillery on all roads, because we are assisted by reason and law.

Q: What do you think of a plan with a league of 24 teams?
A: A Segunda of 24 teams would do justice. The competition is long, but the model can be different, with groups of 12 or avoid the playoff and make three direct promotions so that there are no long matchdays. The League of 24 involves 46 matchdays. In Segunda B there were no more relegations this season due to the pandemic and the model changed.

Q: The problem is that Tebas already said today that he doesnít want a league of 24.
A: It seems to me very well, but also thereís the federation, the Superior Council of Sports and itís necessary to study all the terms. He should be more cautious; the mistake is made between the League and the federation and has to be corrected.

Q: And between the Council (Superior Council for Sports (CSD)?
A: I don't have that information. At first, they transmitted the pressure of the CSD to dispute the matchday, but in conversations with different people they denied it. I don't know if CSD pushed to play the full matchday. They cite causes of force majeure, which obviously arenít justifiable to play some games yes and others no.

Q: Are you considering a demand against Javier Tebas, Luis Rubiales and Irene Lozano [CSD president]?
A: We haven't evaluated it yet. I neither affirm nor rule out anything. We will fight for the interests of the club in every way. There are more clubs affected. For the future, because the last matchday cannot be played as you wish... That cannot be. The regulations are clear regarding the hours of the last two matchdays, starting all at the same time. Yesterday everything was broken and fair play was blown up.

Q: Some players left Abegondo without their belongings. Does that mean that Deportivo's board has already decided not to play against Fuenlabrada?
A: We ask that that the full matchday must be replayed. And we give the players a break after playing many games within 72 hours. We know that it will be very difficult for there to play any football game. The last matchday must be canceled.

Q: If the matchday isnít canceled, what do you say?
A: We arenít going to play the game if the whole matchday is not repeated. Also, I see it difficult to be enjoyable. When? With a team with 12 or 14 positives? Within a month or 15 days? This game is not going to be able to be played, for sure.

Q: The deadlines in ordinary justice are slow. What instances will you go to defend your rights?
A: We will go by order: first the organs of the federation, then the sports arbitration court, and we donít rule out also requesting the precautionary suspension of the measures in court. These are movements with the legal team, which we have expanded to have more management capacity, because this is seen by everyone, except Tebas. In the world of sporting law, everyone sees it very clearly. The irregularity is clamorous.

Q: Deportivo is already harmed, because it doesnít even know in which league it will compete.
A: It hurts many of us: Deportivo, Numancia and Elche, who donít know if they will play the promotion playoff or when. The sooner everything is resolved, the better. I donít know if the best solution is a political measure, but itís the one of lesser harm to those involved, but it would be a playoff of 6 teams and only the two demotions that were already decided, and that Deportivo and Numancia are integrated in a Segunda with 24 teams. Everything else will end up in court and will entangle football. Against a bad decision at a time of tension for public health, they have been clamorously wrong.

Q: Have you advanced on that common front with other clubs?
A: Yes, we go hand in hand with Numancia, Elche and Rayo. We are coordinating legal consultancies, but we have the support of Spanish football, which doesnít give credit to the decisions that were made. The damage is enormous and the damage to Deportivo is catastrophic. La Liga and the federation have to reconsider it.

Q: Today Deportivo is relegated to Segunda B. It would be irresponsible not to think about that scenario, not matter how painful it may be.
A: I don't feel like a relegated club. Thereís a very clear open front. We are third in line, descending to Segunda B, but I understand that there are missing cards on the table.

Q: Can this uncertainty affect the shareholders' meeting on July 28?
A: No. These are different paths. The support of the council is great and people want a financial partner, [Abanca], to join the club in both Segunda and Segunda B. This will unite the fans even more, they all express their discontent, their discomfort at the decision made yesterday and that hurts the club. We want to be compensated for the damage.

Q: Abanca's capitalization of 35 million debt remains standing.
A: The first call I had yesterday was from Abanca to confirm their full support for Deportivo, such as Hijos de Rivera, Louzao and other great sponsors, who have expressed their full support, whatever the division we are in.

Q: You spoke of supports for Spanish football.
A: A lot of people from the world of football have called us, but I don't want to personalize. Depor is very loved, a league champion, and pulls the car of the rest of those involved in this mess.

Q: And the Galician Football Federation supports the League of 24 teams?
A: Rafael LouzŠn [president of the Galician federation] called me this morning and guaranteed me his support.

Q: Is the club viable at Segunda B? With what budget?
A: Itís an unlikely case that we will play in Segunda B, but the numbers would come out and it would be a viable project to return to professional football as soon as possible. To go up to the first season, especially with the support of Abanca and all the Deportivismo. Scenario A is to continue at Segunda.

Q: What budget would the club have scenario B?
A: I can't give a closed figure, but it would be one of the highest in Segunda B.

Q: Do you manage approximate data of the subscribers who "got wet" and have not asked for the refund of money for the games not played?
A: The vast majority are getting wet. For now, there has been a refund of 1% of the members, which shows that people are linked to Depor. With that force we are going to be unstoppable. We will return upstairs even if it takes a year, two or three. Thatís for sure.

Q: Fernando VŠzquez was a revulsive in January, but in the last matchdays he starred in expulsions and was very questioned by his decisions. Does it guarantee his continuity next season, even with a current contract?
A: I need to talk to him, but even today I talked to him about starting to plan the squad with all the options, A and B, with the sporting management. He is identified with the project. We signed him because he was suitable to reactivate a dead team that was in Segunda B in December. With errors like everybody else and many and enormous successes the club made 33 points in 20 matchdays, an average almost of direct promotion. Fernando's continuity is unquestionable.

Q: In plan A you had Valerůn and Manuel Pablo as a tandem in Fabril and Fran as director of grassroots football?
A: We are evaluating it. Itís a step that we want to take. Manuel Pablo is already integrated into the club. There are great possibilities that these two great figures of Deportivo come with plan A, but with B it would be very difficult, although not impossible.

Q: Fran has already stated that it would not be a problem for him if the club is in Segunda B.
A: Yes, but we have some resources that are greatly diminished, on television you are left with nothing, you have a small insurance for the relegation and stop counting. You already lose almost six million euros and your budget changes a lot. We are going to have to make a very big effort to get out of there and we need Abanca to provide us with that financial muscle.

Q: In games like the one of Extremadura, that without playing for anything and with four lads from the academy, they won at the Riazor, have you felt shame for the indolence of the players?
A: It will take many years to forget that game, I donít understand how we could lose that opportunity. Few games can be better posed to win. I'm not talking about embarrassment, but I am talking about disappointment, I don't know...

Q: That sensation, that surely lived in more games, doesnít encourage you to make a radical change inside the changing room?
A: The sporting management will say its future plan. There will be renewal in plan B and also in plan A because there are many players who end contracts. There will be quite a few new faces.

Q: The message to the fans is clear: you will go to the end.
A: Yes. To death, until the end. This board will do the same. We are not going to get off the boat while we are supported by them, and we will fight for the interests of Deportivo.

Q: When the Primera was expanded to 22 teams in 1995, it seemed that the mobilization of the fans was key to achieving change. Despite the pandemic, are you considering claiming Deportivo's rights on the street with mobilizations with prudence, social distance and masks?
A: You have to be very careful about the concentrations of people, but you do have to find mechanisms to socially protest these decisions that have us on the brink of Segunda B. People have the right to demonstrate with all prudence.

Q: How do you assess the health management of Fuenlabradaís trip and its effect on public health in A CoruŮa?
A: With the little information I have, I understand that somewhere the protocol failed, even for the League as well. Fuenlabrada's trip to A CoruŮa has been negligent. When there is a positive case you have to take it very seriously and I think they didnít do it. The damage to the city is enormous, generating a focus of contagion in the area where they stay, and they have obviously brought it from outside.

Q: Has an official from the Fuenlabrada called you to explain?
A: Absolutely not. No one has called, apologized, or explained anything. Yesterday I asked Dr. Carlos LariŮo to go to Fuenlabrada, and he spoke with the club doctor, who didnít travel with the team, and he was the one who told us how the team was doing. But there was no contact between the directives.

Q: Do you think that Fuenlabrada didnít want to play the game?
A: I donít know. In view of all this, the offender could be the great beneficiary in the fight for the playoff, for example. If this match is played they already know what to play against a relegated rival as they want us to see Deportivo. But we must focus on what we know and the adulteration of the competition.

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