La Liga Daily – Barcelona ‘late show’ row at Osasuna rumbles on
The fallout from Barcelona’s ‘late show’ at Osasuna last Saturday night continues to be the subject of discussion in Spain. A lightning strike called by Spanish Air Traffic Controllers on Friday, resulted in Pep Guardiola’s men having to cancel their flight to Pamplona. The Barcelona contingent arrived at the Reyno de Navarra stadium two minutes after the scheduled eight o’clock kick off, with the game finally starting 52 minutes late. The journey had eventually involved catching a train to Zaragoza with the final leg of the trip being made by coach.
It came after a day of misinformation and contradictions during which Barcelona claimed they had permission from league secretary Jorge Pérez to postpone the game. However, Osasuna President Patxi Izco refused to consider moving the fixture to 5pm the following day, and the league had no option but to force the Catalan club to travel. Izco explained: “I am not sure who gave the order but we wanted to play on Saturday because we had sold all our tickets and it was going to be a great atmosphere. I think it showed a lack of respect to our fans.”
Furthermore he maintained Barcelona should be grateful to the Navarra club for even agreeing to kick off later than planned, and in an interview with Catalan radio station COM Radio he said: “The rules state we could have postponed the match and claimed all three points, but that was something that never entered our heads. Osasuna is a well-respected club and we’d prefer to earn our points on the pitch rather than in the offices.” The Osasuna President also revealed he had spoken to his Barcelona counterpart Sandro Rossell at 12.30 on the day of the game and told him that “it seems foolhardy to travel the same day without taking travel conditions into account. We live in the north and the inclement weather we experience here can put paid to any flight.”
In the meantime, Rosell has decided to take full responsibility for the situation rather than risk souring relations with the league. As a result, he has sent a letter to club members and fans via the media assuming all responsibility for any errors that may have occurred in the 24 hours leading up to the match. “I take full responsibility for what happened in the hours before the game,” he said. “I was involved in all negotiations with the league and anything which results from this is entirely down to me. The team did not refuse to travel.”
Admirable words, yet some clubs consider he is creating a smokescreen to deflect any allegations of undue influence within the Spanish Federation, given the fact they had ostensibly sanctioned the postponement without notifying Osasuna. Questions are also being asked whether he would have been as swift to take the blame if Barca had not gone on to accomplish a comfortable 3-0 victory.