Controversy over the awarding of medals to the Super Cup champions | Sports

After the final of the women’s Super Cup played in Mérida, nobody handed out the medals for champions and runners-up respectively to the Barcelona and Real Sociedad players. The individual prizes were placed on a table that was located on the grass of the Romano José Fouto Stadium so that each of the soccer players could collect their souvenir. The image did not take long to go viral. The symbolic charge of the soccer players each taking their medal by hand without anyone hanging it around their necks was powerful, especially when compared online with what happened at the end of the men’s Super Cup. Then, in Riyadh, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, presented the awards to the Barcelona and Real Madrid players.

On the left, the women's Barcelona players collect their medals after winning the Super Cup.  On the right, Rubiales hands out the awards after the men's Super Cup in Riyadh.
On the left, the women’s Barcelona players collect their medals after winning the Super Cup. On the right, Rubiales hands out the awards after the men’s Super Cup in Riyadh.Reuters

“In accordance with the RFEF award protocols, and taking into account both the high number of institutional representation, as well as the infrastructures for access to the box from the stadium grass, the Protocol department decided to activate the award ceremony in the box in the same way that it is carried out in the Copa del Rey: delivery of the Cup to the captain of the champion team and delivery of medals to the winning team on the pitch/locker room”, justified the federation in a statement, after the controversy. In Barcelona, ​​they did not give too much importance to the matter either. The Barcelona coach, Jonatan Giráldez, presented his version in Catalonia Radio: “I saw it later, in different videos. I hadn’t noticed live. Then I saw the statement that said it was a matter of protocol.” The Barça coach, in any case, would have liked another type of ceremony: “A way could have been found to give out the medals as he plays.”

Before the two semifinal matches (Real Sociedad-Huelva and Real Madrid-Barcelona), face-to-face meetings were held at the stadium to explain to the managers of the four teams the logistics and protocol to follow in each of the matches. In the case of the final, the meeting was telematic. “We understand that it was done that way because we had already done one for the semifinal. And it did not change too much regarding how to enter the stadium, which streets the police blocked and what were the entry times and so on… ”, explains an employee of the Royal Society. The federation informed both clubs of how the awards ceremony was going to be, explained how the ceremony and the delivery of the cup and plate would be organized. “Nobody said anything about the medals and nobody asked either,” add the same sources. A version that coincides with that of Barcelona: “We knew there would be a collection, but nobody had told us anything about the tables.”

The organization of the awards ceremony, according to the federation, does not follow a single protocol. “There are different types and one is chosen based on the facilities and the personalities that exist in the field. In this case, the representation was very broad. It was difficult for everyone to go down to the field and, in addition, all the players could not go up to the box because the field is old and small ”, they explain from the highest body of Spanish football. And, when they were questioned about the possibility of having placed a podium on the grass, they resolved: “For reasons of infrastructure, it should have been set up on the grass itself. The awards ceremony would have taken about 20 minutes”.

The AFE (Association of Spanish Soccer Players) was very forceful with the RFEF awards ceremony in Mérida. “The soccer players of Barcelona and Real Sociedad were belittled during the moment of collecting the medals of champions and runners-up,” the union stressed in a statement. In the Barça dressing room they minimize the controversy: “Nothing different happened than what had happened before. Is it seedy? It may be, but we didn’t realize it because it was what we were used to”, they explain. The version of the Barça players coincides with the opinion of its directors. “I don’t think there was contempt. In addition, it is what has been experienced in other Copas del Rey. They are equating it with the issue of Arabia and it has nothing to do with it, ”they say in the Camp Nou offices.

“In Arabia”, they affirm from the Federation; “You couldn’t go up to the box. It was the other way around.” And they add: “In the final of the Copa del Rey last year, only Joaquín went up to the box to look for the cup and the delegates of each club handed out the medals. And no one said anything.”

The focus, in any case, was on the relationship between Luis Rubiales and the Barcelona soccer players after most of the Catalans have given up playing for the Spanish team. “There was talk that Rubiales wanted to avoid any rudeness from the Barça players. It is an interpretation that does not creak ”, they understand in the Real. In the Barcelona coaching staff, however, they analyze: “I don’t think it was because of that. All of us who were there lived in an atmosphere of normality”. And Giráldez concludes: “The problem is that what should have been news is that Barcelona has won a Super Cup against a great team like Real and not the awards ceremony. That’s the problem”.

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