Javier Tebas, CEO of Spanish football’s top flight, La Liga, has stated that players in his league have a duty to act responsibly after four Sevilla players flouted the Spanish government’s lockdown rules.
Argentinian players Ever Banega, Lucas Ocampos and Franco Vazquez, plus Dutch striker Luuk de Jong, were photographed at a party with eight more people during the weekend in a photo that also featured a shisha pipe.
Incredibly, the photo came to light after being taken, then shared to Instagram, by Banega’s own wife. Since news of her picture being discovered went public, she has since made her account private.
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Currently, the Spanish government’s lockdown rules only permit gatherings of fewer than 10 people and, peaking to Spanish TV network Movistar, La Liga boss Tebas made clear his position, and called on players from his league to remember their responsibilities.
“Players are an example to society and should be careful with their actions,” Tebas told television network Movistar.
“I call on all footballers to not act like this. We have to be very careful because a lot of people’s jobs are at stake.
“Safety is guaranteed at training grounds and matches but I’m worried about other places and parties like this. We should all be very cautious.”
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Sevilla published statements from each player apologizing for their conduct, but did not mention whether they would face any internal discipline for their actions.
The club is set to feature in the first match of the reopened La Liga season, with their derby match with Real Betis set to restart the Spanish season.
The match has tentatively been slated to take place on June 11 after the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the league would be allowed to restart in June.
“There is a possibility that there is a game on June 11, which would be the only match that night and perhaps there will be a tribute to all the people who have died (from coronavirus),” said Tebas.
“I hope that date can be confirmed and we would like the game to be the Seville derby, kicking off at 10pm.”
Teams have resumed training in small groups, and it is hoped they will soon be able to train as full teams soon ahead of the mooted return of the league.
“Right now that’s our main goal, and if we can achieve that then we can start to bring forward the return of the competition. Our aim is to be able to announce the first four rounds of fixtures next week.
“The government’s announcement took us by surprise but it shows that professional football is very important to this country.”