While the Basque Government limits the mobility of citizens to the maximum, it requests to leave home only for what is essential and asks to keep the coexistence groups stable to prevent the spread of covid-19, the Basque soccer team, encouraged by the
played a friendly match against Costa Rica in Ipurua on Monday.
Footballers from five different clubs have concentrated in a hotel, have trained together and have shared travel from Bilbao to Eibar to play a 'bowling' behind closed doors broadcast by ETB, the regional television, against the team of
, of which
is the top star.
The match, by the way, ended with a 2-1 local victory, with goals from Navarre
and the Biscayan
in the last play of the match.
A nonsense that has been censored even by the own groups of fans of the team that
In a letter signed by various groups, among them ultra independence groups such as Herri Norte, Iraultza and Indar Gorri, they censor the dispute of this friendly without the presence of the public in the stands.
After all, these matches have historically served as a Christmas folk festival in San Mamés and Anoeta, which was attended by many young people who did not usually go to Athletic and Real Sociedad matches.
The Basque Football Federation (FVF), chaired by
Luis Mari Elustondo
, justifies the friendly dispute arguing that the Eurocup will make it difficult for games to be played in 2021 and that the Euskal Selekzioa (a neutral name used to avoid the debate between Euskadi and Euskal Herria) could be close to three years without playing a single game, too much for their leaders.
Although it is not said openly, the disbursement made by ETB to broadcast the game, which goes directly to the coffers of the FVF, is another strong argument to organize the inopportune 'gig'.
As is obvious, the special health circumstances that the Basque Country, Spain and the world in general are facing have conditioned Clemente's call, made up of Basque and Navarrese players.
Only the four Basque Primera teams (Athletic, Real Sociedad, Alavés and Eibar) and Osasuna have agreed to transfer players to the FVF.
Neither those who play for other Spanish clubs (
Aitor Fernández, Etxeita, Mikel Rico
...) nor those who play abroad (
Herrera, Azpilicueta, Javi Martínez
...) have received permission.
Or directly they have not wanted to go.
Nor do they appear, as is logical, the internationals with Spain:
Kepa, Simón, Iñigo Martínez, Merino and Oyarzabal
and the sub'21 Guillamón, Moncayola, Barrenetxea and Zubimendi.
The friendly players featured in Basque clubs such as
Raúl García, Aritz Elustondo and Remiro
(the last two dragged annoyance)
have not played either,
and on the way the realists
Zaldua and Zubeldia
(also touched) and the rojiblancos
Ezkieta and Dani García
, both confined after testing positive for covid-19 the first of them.
Athletic, with 10 players, contributes half of the 19 players who have trained only once under Clemente.
In fact, between one thing and another,
has only been able to train with nine players from the first squad this Monday.
The friendly against Costa Rica has come after two consecutive fiascos.
The last match that Euskadi had played until today was in Panama, in May 2019, in which Clemente's debut as coach was made.
Many of the eligible players had vacation plans for those dates, with the season just ended, and they resigned from the friendly, forcing Clemente to summon five players from the Athletic branch to complete a call-up of 17. By October of that same year, the FVF announced with great fanfare an agreement to play a friendly with Argentina that the Albiceleste team never recognized.
Elustondo had reached an agreement with an intermediary whom it later blamed for breaching the contract.
The FVF, taking advantage of Spain's visit to San Mamés for the Eurocup scheduled for last summer, also passed on to the RFEF its interest in playing a friendly against the national team.
Proposal that went nowhere, of course.
"Steps to officiality"
All this framed in an alleged context of "taking steps to the officiality" in which it was intended to highlight as a historical fact the assembly that the FVF held on December 12, 2018. In a meeting encouraged by the Basque Government (made up of the PNV and the PSE, the Basque brand of the PSOE) of just 10 minutes and attended by only a third of the 124 people and entities with the right to vote, it was agreed to "formally request the direct integration of the FVF into UEFA and the FIFA ", like one more national team.
In which, it would be necessary more, Navarrese would also participate, despite the fact that the Navarra Federation is an independent entity from the Basque that no one has asked, and also French Basque.
Almost two years after that conclave, the FVF has made no formal request in this regard.
During this time, there have been many movements to force the resignation of Elustondo, with less and less support in Basque football but strongly backed by the Iñigo Urkullu government.
And the fact is that the nationalist dream of an official Basque soccer team is nothing short of a chimera.
FIFA changed its statutes a few years ago to block the integration of federations that do not represent recognized states and only accepts for processing those that have the approval of the national federation to which they belong, in this case Spain.
In addition, the Constitutional Court has already issued jurisprudence on the matter, limiting the international concurrence of autonomous federations to sports or disciplines in which there is no Spanish federation.
As an example, the Basque Country officially participates in international kayak surfing and rope shooting competitions or 'sokatira'.
Despite this, the Basque Government, and especially the PNV, continues to encourage utopia.
Even last December,
Pedro Sánchez made an
unequivocal commitment to "open channels to promote the international representation of the Basque Country in the sports and cultural sphere", in the agreement for his inauguration as Prime Minister.
An initiative that a year later has not found development, but that
Andoni Ortuzar's party
hopes to put on the table when the eternally pending reform of the 1990 Sports Law is negotiated and approved.
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