Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid Cancelled Due to Vandals: Implications for La Liga
After much confusion and conflicting stories, the match between Rayo Vallecano and Real Madrid has officially been postponed after power to the stadium was cut by fans, according to The Associated Press (h/t NBC News).
The match was originally scheduled for a 3:30 ET start time, but roughly 45 minutes before kickoff, stories began breaking that lightning around Vallecas had caused power to go out, causing the match to be delayed.
However, it was later learned that fans had allegedly cut power to the the stadium as part of a week-long boycott against ticket prices.
Speaking to Canal+, Vallecas president Martin Presa said: "We have suffered a sabotage. Someone has cut the cables from the tribune" (via Goal.com).
All week, season ticket holders have spoken out and protested against having to pay an extra €25 to see the match.
Those fans believed that they already paid their dues at the start of the season and should not have to pay more just to see the reigning champions play their team.
In the end, officials negotiated a postponement that will now see the match played at a later date.
To make the situation even more embarrassing for the league, the official time and date have yet to be decided.
Real Madrid allegedly want to play the match at 5:00 pm, but Rayo manager Paco Jemez is not going for that, according to AS.
At least Jemez looking out for fans in trying to reschedule the match : "Yes they asked us to play tomorrow at 5 but I said no because people wouldn't be able to come."
UPDATE: The match will now officially be played at 7:00 p.m. UK time, and Sky Sports will broadcast it.
This does not bode well for a league that is already under fire from fans for gross financial disparity.
Already this season we have seen matches with fewer fans as increased ticket prices and high unemployment have made it difficult for fans to pay to see games.
What is your reaction to Rayo fans cutting power?
Even in matches with Barcelona or Real Madrid, smaller-market clubs have just not been able to fill seats.
With over 25 percent of the country currently unemployed and more than half of the country's youth without work, it is no surprise that people are not prioritizing football.
The boycott, while aimed at Rayo and ticket prices in Vallecas, is also a result of the gross disparity in La Liga that sees Real Madrid and Barcelona take the vast majority of TV revenue.
La Liga's Broken System
I recently wrote a three-part series looking at the serious problems being created and perpetuated by La Liga's broken TV revenue system that is seeing more and more Spanish clubs being overwhelmed by debt and going bankrupt.
The big two clubs may be doing well compared to the other great clubs of Europe, but most of the rest of Spain's first division are moving backwards.
Financial limitations are forcing clubs to sell their best players every season while the two title contenders only get stronger.
This not only kills competition, but it is also causing the rest of the league to fail financially. There is no way to survive economically without sacrificing their place in the top division.
It breeds resentment amongst fans and citizens alike as their clubs and even their families continue to struggle while Barcelona and Real Madrid continue to record huge profits.
Teams are forced to bring in more money from other sources, in this case from increased ticket prices for premier games.
These raised prices coupled with late start times predictably is not going over too well with fans and the events in Vallecas are further proof of this.
The cutting of power in protest to increased costs should be an isolated incident, but it will certainly not be the last time fans voice their disagreements with the financial state of affairs in La Liga.
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