UEFA is a world apart; a very peculiar state within Europe. Three years ago, the Provincial Treasury of Bizkaia obtained a total exemption in the Corporation Tax and the Income Tax of non-residents, of the income obtained by participating in the Eurocup, whether the person or the company was Spanish or foreign. involved; Last year, in the midst of a pandemic, he managed to get the Government, chaired by Pedro Sánchez, to extend that decision to 2021. He also wanted, as revealed in a municipal appearance, the Councilor for Economic Development of Bilbao, Xabier Ochandiano, that his managers and those who pay large amounts to attend the event, have a different treatment from the rest of the population, and the ordinary attendees to the Eurocup: “They proposed that masks should not be used in the VIP areas,” he revealed, a decision that would have meant transgressing the health regulations that extend to the entire population.
It was one of the demands of UEFA to keep the Bilbao headquarters, but there was more. According to Ochandiano, those responsible for European football asked for the allowed capacity to be increased to 50%, and their approaches despised the incidence of Covid-19: “We do not share that the entrance of the public depends on sanitary conditions,” they affirmed from UEFA. The mayor of Bilbao explained some of the responses received by the council to the health proposals of the Basque Government: “Make sure you commit to get 25% of the public without public health indicators”, they were transmitted from the headquarters of the highest European body. “Without an audience there is no headquarters, the situation of the pandemic doesn’t matter. Others have already signed and insure 25%, 50% and 100% “, were, according to the City Council, the verbatim words of their interlocutors.
Bilbao will now try to get UEFA to pay, at least, the expenses that the city has incurred due to the frustrated organization of the Eurocup, and which amount to 1.3 million euros already disbursed. In addition, in a few days the amount of the signed and committed contracts that are not going to be executed will be quantified, and for which the City Council will have to pay the corresponding compensation, which the legal services are studying to claim from UEFA. “The reputational damage suffered by the city” will also be quantified.
In the consistory they described as “unpleasant” the conversations they had in recent weeks with the European body, and they also see a possible intervention by the Spanish Football Federation to modify the Spanish headquarters and move it to Seville. In principle, because UEFA did not want to reveal what the conditions of the other venues were: “We cannot tell you what the conditions of the others are, we ask for your commitment of a minimum of 25% insured”, and because there were already insinuations in that sense: “UEFA needs an audience in the competition, and Seville may be a good option.”
In addition, as Ochandiano pointed out, “the mayor of Munich has not guaranteed the presence of the public”, and yet the Allianz Arena continues to be one of the venues for the Eurocup. Of course, Bilbao could not play, like the Bavarian capital, with the wild card of the Super League. Bayern was one of the allies of Ceferin, the president of the European body, when it came to rejecting the private competition that was trying to revolutionize European football.
Now it only remains to know what are the conditions that the Junta de Andalucía has accepted in relation to the headquarters of La Cartuja, and if the VIPS of the Sevillian stadium will be able to enjoy football without a mask.