By Tim Stannard
Deportivo relegated without kicking a ball after final regular season match against Fuenlabrada was postponed
Having pushed through a remarkable month-and-a-half of games, the reality of playing sport through a pandemic in Spain hit home on Monday.
With barely an hour to go before Deportivo La Coruna was due to kick off against Madrid side, Fuenlabrada, in Spain's second division, the game was postponed after six members of the visiting team were reported to have tested positive for COVID-19.
The match was set to be the final game of the regular season and both teams had something to play for.
Depor was in the relegation zone trying to get out and Fuenlabrada was in the play-off zone trying to stay in. All matches for teams at the top and bottom were set to play at the same time for fairness. However, the decision was made that the remaining matches would all go ahead.
And the results did not go well for Deportivo.
Victories for Lugo and Albacete sees Deportivo relegated to the third tier of Spanish football without a ball being kicked. No result against Fuenlabrada is enough to keep them up, whereas the side from the Madrid suburbs need a point in the potentially rearranged Deportivo game to make the playoffs.
Depor say they've told LaLiga, the RFEF and the CSD that they oppose the decision to go ahead with tonight's other Segunda games while cancelling theirs, saying it "adulterates the competition" and they'll consider legal action https://t.co/2qqnfEOVmx— The Spanish Football Podcast (@tsf_podcast) July 20, 2020
And this is where the problem lies. Actually, it's just one of many problems.
Legal action has been threatened by Deportivo and other teams involved in the playoffs complaining that the games should all have been played at the same time and that the competition was not equal and fair.
However, the problems are more immediate in Spain's second division. At time of writing, Fuenlabrada are quarantined in a hotel in A Coruna on Spain's north coast, undergoing more tests. A total of 12 positive tests in the camp were eventually confirmed.
It is impossible to say when any kind of rematch against Deportivo could be played safely. That's a problem when the first round of the playoff semifinals for La Segunda are scheduled for Thursday - the chance for one of four teams - including Real Zaragoza, Almeria, and Girona - to return to LaLiga next season.
So close to the season completing in Spain. Yet, so far.
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That is followed by a rather splendid warm-up match for PSG against Celtic in front of 5,000 actual supporters live on beIN SPORTS at 1PM ET.
NBA reports no positive cases in latest round of tests
Some better news in terms of all things pandemic - oh, what times we live in - with news that the NBA Bubble of Isolation has not been burst and there were no positive COVID-19 tests returned from 346 made in the latest round.
These sees the NBA still on track to restart the season in Orlando on July 30.
Meanwhile, negotiations are continuing between the NFL and the Players Association on plans for beginning training camps. After leading players expressed dissatisfaction for health protocols, the NFL has reportedly agreed to have no pre-season matches this year, after initially pushing for two rather than the usual four.
Another concession was made that the players would be tested daily for COVID-19 during the first two weeks of training camps.
Dr Fauci to throw opening pitch in baseball's return
Meanwhile, in a move that might well set off a Tweet-storm of epic proportions somewhere in DC on Thursday, Doctor Anthony Fauci, will be throwing the opening pitch for the new MLB season as the Washington Nationals host the New York Yankees.
A statement from the Washington Nationals regarding Opening Day. pic.twitter.com/iejxXeAA4V— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 20, 2020
The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also happens to be a huge Nationals fan. "Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career," said an official statement from the defending champions.