The Superior Council of Sports makes an agreement between the Federation and LaLiga possible for the return of football

It signifies a truce in the underground war fought between the bodies presided over by Luis Rubiales and Javier Tebas
General view of the Reale Seguros stadium, home of the Spanish first division football team Real Sociedad, in San Sebastian

REUTERS/VINCENT WEST  -   General view of the Reale Seguros stadium, home of the Spanish first division football team Real Sociedad, in San Sebastian

The Higher Sports Council (CSD) announced the pact between the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga to plan a return to normal football activity while the coronavirus pandemic continues to plague the world, leaving tens of thousands dead and millions affected. After hours of dialogue at the Palacio de Viana in Madrid, an understanding was reached "in an open and friendly way". All this after several episodes of disagreement between the two governing bodies of Spanish football. 

The principle of agreement, of which no details were given, will be further developed "in the short, mid and long term to shape the future of Spanish football after the pandemic," as stated in a joint official statement, with the intention of establishing guidelines for the revival of Spanish football. The meeting was led by Luis Rubiales, president of the RFEF, Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga, and Irene Lozano, president of the CSD, and took place in a "constructive" tone by all involved. 

Spanish football has been suspended since March 13 due to the health crisis unleashed by the spread of the disease COVID-19 and it seems that there may be a final consensus in order to restart the competition at national level. 

The parties agreed on "a return to professional football training", which is subject to the evolution of COVID-19 and the determinations of the Ministry of Health. Consequently, the return will take place if the necessary health requirements are met and "under strict health protocols".

El presidente de LaLiga, Javier Tebas
REUTERS/PAUL HANNA - LaLiga President Javier Tebas

The official statement also pointed out that Irene Lozano, Luis Rubiales and Javier Tebas "also committed to devote part of the resources generated by the audiovisual rights of football to a rescue of the rest of the federated sports, Olympic and Paralympic. The presidents of the RFEF and LaLiga also "signed a commitment to create a contingency fund of 10 million euros, to which they will invite other entities such as the Football Association (AFE) to participate, in order to help the most vulnerable athletes".

They also spoke of "drawing up a code of conduct for football, applicable to all its directors, managers and agents, which could serve as a reference for other professional sports, and which would strengthen an honest and sincere dialogue and facilitate smooth relations between the various football institutions".

The official communiqué also pointed out that the parties also "are committed to working together and in a coordinated manner abroad, contributing to Spain's reputation and strengthening our image as a safe sport country"; adding that "in this context, the Iberian candidacy for the 2030 World Cup is of particular importance, an event to which the Government will lend all its support, understanding that understanding in football is essential for our country's possibilities".

El presidente de la Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF), Luis Rubiales
AFP/OSCAR DEL POZO - The president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales

Until recently, the RFEF and LaLiga had shown many differences regarding various aspects such as, for example, the calendar to be followed or the conditions to be taken into account for resuming matches. Thanks to the mediation of the CSD, it seems that the positions between the RFEF and LaLiga, whose presidents have been fighting for months on several issues related to Spanish football, a matter on which both institutions exercise their power, have come closer. 

The latest discordant issue arose last week, when the RFEF stated that the current league classification for positions entitling players to play in European competitions would be maintained if the current 2019-2020 season could not be completed if the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) were to ask which teams qualified for European tournaments. This is a controversial issue that caused complaints from clubs like Getafe and Atlético de Madrid, outside of the Champions League positions, or Valencia, outside of Europe with the current chart in hand.  

Meanwhile, UEFA has urged the completion of the competitions. The UEFA Executive Committee met via video conference to further discuss the future of the competitions. European football's top body received updates from the various working groups and announced in an official statement that these groups plan "to start national football before UEFA's club competitions". Furthermore, it approved the guidelines on eligibility for participation in UEFA competitions 2020/21 which, according to its press release, 'reflect the principle that admission to UEFA club competitions is always based on sporting merit'.

Partido de fútbol de la Liga española entre el Real Madrid y el Barcelona en el estadio Santiago Bernabéu de Madrid, España, el domingo 1 de marzo de 2020
AP/MANU FERNANDEZ - Spanish League soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, Spain, on Sunday, March 1, 2020

Thus, it recommends completing the main national competitions unless there is a recommendation against the various governments to protect health: "UEFA urges the Federations and National Leagues to explore all possible options to play all main national competitions by giving access to UEFA club competitions at their natural conclusion. However, UEFA stresses that the health of players, spectators and all those involved in football, as well as the general public, must remain the main concern at this time.