All too often in Tenerife we hear of people who are not paid for their work, but it’s a national phenomenon which has hit harder as the economic crisis has deepened. What was needed, people frequently said, was some sort of major publicity for these people who could not walk out of their jobs without losing their rights, but who were being treated outrageously by employers who could not, or would not, pay them. Now, perhaps, there is a bit of publicity at just the level needed. A football match tonight between Real Sociedad and Racing Santander has been abandoned, the Santander team refusing to play because they haven’t been paid for around six months.
This wasn’t just any old match either, but a quarter final in the Copa del Rey, a major national football tournament in Spain. To be strictly accurate, the team said they weren’t refusing to play, something that would put them in breach of their contract, but they were not going to kick the ball. As can be seen from the video above which has already been uploaded to youtube, when the whistle blew to start the match, Sociedad kicked off but the Racing Santander players gathered around the centre circle. Sociedad, in solidarity, kept the ball in their own half. Surely there was never a match like this!
Within a couple of minutes, the match was suspended, and was then formally abandonded. With heads still spinning pundits are now discussing where this leaves bets placed on the match, and whilst Real Sociedad, the favourites, will automatically go through to the semi final after winning 3-1 in the first leg, the Santander players are demanding the resignation of the club’s board of directors. Maybe this is where the publicity for unpaid workers really starts, when it hits football.