The alarm went off on Friday at noon, when it was publicly disclosed that Thomas Gutierrez, Colombian central marker of the reserve of Riverpresented symptoms compatible with coronavirus. That day at 15:15, in the dressing room Angel Labruna of the Monumental A meeting took place, prior to training, between the entire campus and the coaching staff. “We can’t show up to play. Health is above all“Was the speech that the captain raised, Leonardo Ponzio, and to which the rest of the soccer players adhered. Marcelo Gallardo He supported them. “Marcelo knows well what the word pandemic means and that is why he supported them“, said to Infobae one of the trusted people of the Doll.
River announced the closing of the club doors and it was the only team that did not show up to play for the first date of the Super League Cup, With which will lose the points of the game that should have played on Saturday against Atlético Tucumán, at 17:45. Further, was exposed to a removal of three other points by the Disciplinary Court of the AFA and to a economic fine for the equivalent of 2,250 entries.
The decision, which generated a lot of controversy and debates because the decision of River was one-sided and even disobeying the Ministry of Health of the Nation because the body considers that behind closed doors it is possible to play, it went into crisis on Sunday night, at least for the leadership of the Núñez club. President Alberto Fernández announced that football will continue to be played behind closed doors and even asked the chains that own the television rights to give the public the possibility of watching the matches on the open screen to better cope with the isolation requested by the Government.
The confirmation of the continuity of football was like a bucket of ice water for River, since with the news the sports risks to which the club is exposed are much greater: if he does not appear at two other parties, he runs the risk of being demoted. In this case it would be different from what happened in 2011. That time, he suffered the fall to the National B for the first time in its history -something like the fall of the Roman Empire- but after losing in the Promotion against Belgrano de Córdoba. In this case, it could even be on the desks. Therefore from Sunday night the fear was activated among its leaders: Risk falling for cutting yourself with a drastic measure? Article 72 of the AFA regulations indicates this: “The club that does not appear on three consecutive dates will be sanctioned with the loss of the category“
Before this panorama, Ponzio is talking to captains of other teams to try to convince them that the second date is not played for health reasons, in prevention by the advance of the coronavirus. The players of River want that on Wednesday, when a meeting of captains is held at the headquarters of Argentinian Soccer Players Guild, the thinking of the majority of the establishments prevails, who considered that the first date should not be played. Why have all the matches been played so far? Because all the clubs asked their campuses to show up and the footballers obeyed even without agreeing.
A general strike could “solve” the problem for the River leadership if Ponzio and company remain inflexible in their position of not playing. Anyway, you have to wait for the talk that the leadership will have with the team in the next few hours to know if they maintain the position.
President Alberto Fernández, who has a very good personal relationship with D’Onofrio for many years he winked at River when mentioning yesterday the alarm that the situation of the Colombian generated in the Núñez club Thomas Gutierrezwhose studies tested negative for coronavirus and generated relief in River. However, he did not give the right to the general position of the institution of not showing up to play because he remarked that behind closed doors there can be action.
In the meantime, River’s squad has not trained since Friday nor does it have a return date to practices. Footballers perform physical maintenance work in their homes with a routine left by Pablo Dolce, the physical trainer of the campus.
Just over two days after the decision taken by River, the feeling is that the position of the campus had the support of the leadership for health issues and also political: it is known that D’Onofrio is estranged of the holder of the AFA, Claudio Tapia, and the new president of the Super League, Marcelo Tinelli, who until recently knew how to be a political ally.
The picture is mixed. And now in River a fear arose that is not less from the sports and the political: If you decide not to play against Talleres (in Córdoba) and Argentinos Juniors (in the Monumental), the punishment can be nothing less than the descent.