Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish FA, has hit out at coronavirus testing for footballers as “irresponsible” in the current climate.
Spain has been one of the European countries hardest hit by the pandemic, with 11,178 confirmed cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the country on Tuesday with nearly 500 people dead.
Three La Liga players have been named as having proven positive for the disease: Valencia trio Ezequiel Garay, Jose Luis Gaya and Eliaquim Mangala. Additionally, Espanyol have announced six of their players are positive for the disease, while testing is expected to be conducted at every club in the top two leagues as efforts to contain the spread ramp up.
Rubiales, however, has pointed out that there are sectors of society far more vulnerable than the country’s footballers.
“I think it is irresponsible when there are patients with much more at stake than a competition, with life itself at stake,” Rubiales said. “It is not appropriate to be using tests [at clubs] when there are people who need tests. It fails to see reality.
“We are all confined to home; it doesn’t make any difference if you have been infected or not. It’s the same outcome [isolation]. And if someone does have severe symptoms, that’s the person who needs the test. Not a footballer. He is going to be isolated anyway.
“The authorities have said this: ‘If anyone has a test, masks, gloves, hand them over.’ Hospitals are running out. There’s someone sending tests to clubs: that’s a lack of solidarity, it could even be illegal. He should be ashamed. We don’t want that, and it’s anti-patriotic.
“When all this is over, when fewer people need it, then maybe we will consider testing players at our clubs but for now, tests have to be for those that need it. We all have to lend a hand.”
Meanwhile, the president, who faces a challenge from Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas over his job, has urged the season to be concluded in some form.
“It would a tremendous injustice not to finish the season. We are not going to declare it void, we want to finish it,” he said, before admitted there are great unknowns.
“We don’t even know when competition will restart. We are in the hands of what the health authorities say. We can’t guess the future.”