The Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, has expressed “disappointment” at the rejection of the UEFA to what Bilbao be, as it was originally committed, one of the headquarters of the Eurocup, a decision that you consider may be motivated by political reasons” and for which the Basque institutions could demand compensation.
The lehendakari, in statements to the media upon his arrival at the Basque Parliament, has referred in this way to UEFA’s decision to reject Bilbao hosting Eurocup matches to be played between June and July, a measure that this The body has justified by restrictions on public attendance at sporting events that, for health reasons, are in force in Euskadi.
Urkullu has expressed his “disappointment” with this decision, given that the Basque institutions had made a “bet” for Bilbao to host the final phase of the European competition, for which a contract had already been signed.
The Lehendakari recalled UEFA and the Spanish Football Federation that there is a contract that “commits organizations and institutions.” Urkullu has assured that he does not understand “what reasons could have led UEFA, with the support of the Spanish Federation” to adopt this decision now.
In addition, given the possibility that Seville – as has already been proposed – can replace Bilbao as the venue for the Eurocup, he has stated that he does not know “what guarantees of compliance” with the health measures against the pandemic they can offer, by the end May or June, “other places” of the Spanish State with respect to Bilbao.
“Mens sana in corpore sana, it is said for athletes; also for all citizens; and, in this sense, the objective is to preserve the health of the public who could attend sports facilities,” he said.
The Lehendakari recalled that in the international arena, “sufficient examples” of postponements or holding sports competitions “without an audience” can be observed. “I can understand that UEFA pursues some economic objectives; but that does not mean putting the health of the fans at risk, “he stressed.
In the opinion of the Lehendakari, what is happening with this issue is “very strange.” In fact, he has denounced that this is an “announced” decision and that, in his opinion, it may have “a political aspect”.
Regarding the possibility of Seville replacing Bilbao as headquarters, he recalled that last week, the Spanish Football Federation and the Junta de Andalucía already raised that alternative. In this sense, he has affirmed that he does not know what are the sanitary conditions to which, “Today”, the Board and the central government “can be” compromised “in relation to what the presence of the public may be in sanitary conditions that are not those that can be found in Bilbao.”
The Lehendakari has asked the Ministries of Culture and Health to pronounce on the possibility that Seville can host Eurocopa matches with the public.