Anger among Spanish fans over the RFEF’s neglect of the Copa de España

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Estimated reading time:5 minutes, 35 seconds

A new year begins, but the mystery concerning the host venue for the Copa de España remains. There are barely five weeks left for the most anticipated competition this season to take place, the competition is due to be held from February 9 to 12, but the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is reluctant to announce which city will host the Copa de España.

Online this morning, everything indicates that Granada will be the host city chosen from a list that also included Ciudad Real, Zaragoza, Murcia or Cáceres, but apparently, negotiations between the RFEF and the Andalusian city have become complicated, and an announcement now hangs by a thread, leaving just under a month for the RFEF to find a new host city should negotiations breakdown. Already many fans had reserved accommodation in Granada and even purchased flights who could now lose their money due to the poor organization of the RFEF. Now potential alternatives are beginning to be discussed, among them are Ciudad Real or Jaén, and even the Pabellón de la Ciudad del Fútbol de Las Rozas which has a capacity for only 1,000 spectators. This last option was announced by @FutsalWorld4 on Twitter and would be a last resort since it is the headquarters of the RFEF and the sports city of the Spanish National Team, both for football and futsal. The management of this pavilion depends exclusively on the RFEF and no type of negotiation would be necessary. But with such a small capacity, this announcement would not be one the fans would want to hear.

The RFEF has already announced the venue for the Copa del Rey Final Four to be held on April 1 and 2, two months later than the Copa de España which has frustrated fans more. In addition, the federation is due to announce the coaches’ congress which is held alongside the Copa de España at the same place and date. They recently announced Marquinhos Xavier, Brazil’s national coach, as one of the speakers at the congress, and even he must be frustrated with the lack of details he must have about where it will take place.

When the Liga Nacional de Futbol Sala (LNFS) still controlled Spanish futsal they would announce the venue for the competition well in advance, giving fans, the host city etc time to prepare, build anticipation and excitement. The day after finishing the Copa de España in Valencia 2019, the LNFS announced Malaga as the venue for the 2020 edition. However, since the RFEF took control of Spanish futsal in 2020, they have always left doubts as to how far in advance they will announce the venue. For the 2021 Copa de España, which was held in March, the official announcement wasn’t made until January, two months before the competition was due to kick off. The last edition, Jaén 2022, was held between March 31 and April 3, and the official announcement wasn’t made until the end of December 2021, three months before. Now, we are just short of a month before the 2023 edition is due to kick off, yet nothing has been officially announced, which makes it the first edition in history with the fewest days between the announcement of the venue and the start of the competition.

Above you can see how Gabriel Izcue (@izcuefutsal) illustrates this for us with one of his graphics on Twitter. Since the RFEF began to organize the Copa de España, the announcement of the venue has been made an average of 63 days in advance (taking 35 days in advance in the 2023 edition). Though when it was organized by the LNFS, the average was 171 days in advance. In just three years, we have seen a breakdown in the professional organization of this competition.

As a fan, it makes you wonder how much respect the RFEF has for our sport. Where does Futsal sit on their list of priorities? Because it increasingly feels that futsal is at the bottom of their attention/ priorities and makes you question why they took over the management of futsal. Why has UEFA not said anything? Could you imagine the same lack of organizational professionalism for a football competition endorsed by UEFA? Do you think UEFA would have intervened by now? However, it feels like if it is not this competition then it is something else, like the marketing and visibility of our sport which I feel has suffered since the LNFS lost control. Furthermore, a once-united sport is now divided into two camps, those who continue to support the LNFS and those who support the RFEF. Next year, the LNFS loses control of the audiovisual rights for our national competitions, which makes me think about what will happen next when it comes to the management of these rights. Will the RFEF demand too much money for these rights and markets in the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere which currently broadcasts our national league’s games, will they pull out? Are we watching the incremental breakdown of all the hard work and effort the LNFS made for decades? What is the future of our sport? I ask this because so many argued that Futsal would prosper under the leadership of the RFEF in Spain, but to be honest, I have yet to see this. I have not seen it on the international stage, and we are clearly not seeing it on the domestic either.

Author of the article

My name is Alejandro Méndez and I was born in Cartagena. I discovered futsal in 2017 and it fascinated me. Since then, I immersed myself in this amazing and beautiful sport. I support Jimbee Cartagena, and I write and talk about futsal for, and Futsal Focus.

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