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The shame of Spanish Football (Unbiased Opinion)

Real Madrid and Barcelona will meet on Sunday and millions of people will watch the game. The enormous corruption of the sport will remain in the background. It is time to save Spain's football from itself.

MADRID - When Real Madrid and Barcelona meet Sunday at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium, one of the sacred temples of football, a global audience of 650 million people will be attentive to every detail. The images of the goals will be shared on the five continents and the players will confirm their status as the entertainment stars of our time. A less friendly reality will be relegated to the background: Spanish football lives behind its apparent exuberance, determined to contradict the last of the sport's values.

The matchmaking, whose latest scandal is being judged these days, the impunity of racist behaviors in stadiums, the promotion of gambling through sports betting or corruption in the dark transfer market are just some of the stains of a model where everything goes, as long as it brings some economic benefit.

It is time to save Spanish football from itself. The immense follow-up that awakens cannot be an excuse to surround it with impunity, but one more reason to force all its actors to respect the fair play of an open and tolerant society.

Only under the current resignation of principles is it understood that in January the Super Cup, one of the competitions of the Spanish calendar, will be played in Saudi Arabia. An agreement of 120 million euros in force over the next three years led the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to choose as headquarters a country where women are systematically discriminated against, imprisoned dissidents and uncomfortable journalists, such as Jamal Khashoggi, are censored or even killed.

Closer, in Spanish stadiums, racist incidents are repeated without clubs, referees or competent bodies taking action, partly for fear of damaging a business that accounts for 1.37 percent of Spain's GDP and moves 15,668 million euros year. Deportivo de la Coruña coach Fernando Vázquez denounced last week that xenophobia and hate are not a priority of sports authorities. "It will only be resolved when players decide to leave and games are lost," he said.

Spanish football behaves as if it could turn its back on its social responsibility. The RFEF, La Liga and the clubs, responsible for managing it, do not understand that they are transmitters of the dreams of millions of children who have their role models in players and teams. And yet, not even the two best players in the world pass the cut to become examples.

Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were convicted in Spain for fraud against the Treasury. Both received prison sentences that eluded with the payment of millionaire sums, while they had the understanding of the directors of their clubs, the managers of the competition and the fans.

The scenes of the two players being acclaimed at the doors of the courts show why football is so difficult to regenerate. While we look the other way, sending the message that nothing matters except sports victory, the motivation to recover sports values ​​will continue to elude a world that, protected by the passion and the business it generates, intends to live with its own rules.

The Spanish teams, with their global reach, could instead promote diversity, equality and tolerance within what the league itself describes as its intention to "integrate social responsibility" into professional football. And you must do it beyond empty rhetoric and a few posters hanging from the stadiums.

Imagine the impact that homophobia and the help it would have for those who suffer it in school could be fought sincerely. But no La Liga player has ever admitted his homosexuality and those who wanted to do so found themselves with the veto of their clubs . Everything is forgiven, except an exit from the closet that puts the business at risk.

Ticket sales and television rights used to be the two major sources of equipment financing. The growth of football's popularity in recent decades has turned its stars into advertising media capable of generating millionaire income through the sale of products related to its image. What is not understood is that in the legitimate search for profitability, greed has won ethics by a win.

Players and clubs have been decisive in the explosion of sports betting in Spain, with an annual growth of 20 percent . Seven of the twenty first division clubs display advertising for multinational game houses and the rest have some kind of sponsorship agreement with them, with the exception of the Royal Society . Players idolized by children convey the message that their dreams can be fulfilled: not emulating their effort on the pitch, but betting their savings so that the ball entered the goal.

The proliferation of bookmakers in the most humble neighborhoods and the epidemic of gambling among minors has forced the government of Spain to limit publicity and veto the use of celebrities to attract new punters. But in an inexplicable concession, the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, decided to maintain publicity during the matches , precisely where the children's audience is concentrated.

The football industry, because that has been reduced, an industry has demonstrated its inability to regulate itself.

State institutions must intervene decisively, put means to stop corruption, increasing the protection of young promises today victims of intolerable marketing, legislate so that the sport does not become a casino and promote the closing of stadiums turned into speakers of hate A good start would be to start implementing the existing law of 2007 that protects against "violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance in sport."

The global attraction of football and the heroic aura that surrounds players must be at the service of more than just making money.



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My Hack Stuff: The shame of Spanish Football (Unbiased Opinion)
The shame of Spanish Football (Unbiased Opinion)
Real Madrid and Barcelona will meet on Sunday and millions of people will watch the game. The enormous corruption
My Hack Stuff
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