Friday, June 19, 2020

Some Like it Hot!

This is what you should be doing in June and July. Kenny putting at the
Footballers Golf Classic, La Manga. Another great image by Will Knight.
Following that unfortunate fridge door incident in Wuhan last January and the resultant freeze on life as we know it since, at least some of the important things in life are de-frosting and getting ready for consumption. Yes, football is back, albeit not quite as we know it. And Spanish football is no exception and by "Spanish football" I mean real Spanish football. Yes, Segunda B and Tercera divisions are back, at least for 88 of the total 440 teams who are now to be involved in the play-offs following the premature ending of their season back in March. At the cessation of this season's play-offs, four Segunda B teams from the four Segunda B Grupos will have been promoted to Spanish football's Segunda division, just the one division below La Liga. Sound straightforward enough? Yeah.

For those of you old enough to remember Soap, a night time American sitcom series which ran 1977 to 1981 and basically parodied other daytime soaps, each episode opened with a brief summary of the convoluted storyline ending, "Confused? you won't be, after this week's episode of Soap". Well trust me, as far as Segunda B play-offs are concerned once you have read this you will be confused. So this is how the four promotions will be determined.

The top 4 teams from each of the 4 Grupos qualify for the play-offs, i.e. 16 teams in total. This year, courtesy of the Chinese, the usual two-legged affairs are replaced by single-leg games which will be played behind closed doors at five neutral grounds in the region of Andalucia (southern Spain) between the 18th and the 26th of July. Yes, that is indeed the hottest part of Spain at the hottest time of the year when anyone with half a grain of sense should be on their sun loungers or playing golf with Kenny or sat in the shade enjoying a tasty beer or in fact doing anything else other than playing or watching football. 

The "nerve centre" of the Segunda B play-off competition is to be Marbella where three of the five neutral grounds are based, the other two being in Malaga and Algeciras. One of the 16 teams competing in this year's play-offs is, wait for it, Marbella FC and all their games will be held in (have you guessed it yet?) Marbella!. Hmm. One can only rue the apparent absence of any other suitable stadiums, in the Andalucia region, in which to host a behind-closed-doors match and avoid the potential for charges of favoritism and/or unfair advantage. Anyway.........

The 4 Grupo winners are drawn against each other and the winners from these two games are promoted. Our local team FC Cartagena is one such Grupo winner so they have the chance to gain promotion with just the one match. Two of the four promotion places are now sorted.

The 4 Grupo runners-up (including Marbella FC - booooo ) are drawn against three of the 4 Grupo fourth placed teams (to prevent a runner-up and fourth place from the same Grupo playing each other) to provide a total of four matches.

The 4 Grupo third-places teams are drawn against each other in another two matches.

The winners of the above six matches then go into a draw with the 2 losing Grupo winners (remember them?) to produce another four matches, the winners of which are then drawn against each other for two final matches, the winners of which take the remaining two of the original four promotion places.

Confused? You will be! And I haven't even started yet to look at how the 72 play-off contenders from the Tercera division are supposed to get promoted to Segunda B's Grupos.

Locally we are of course rooting for FC Cartagena to reclaim a place back in the Segunda division which, if they succeed, will probably mean that I have to extend my definition of real football in Spain to now include the second tier. At the end of the day, it is my blog!

Covid-related protocols for the total 14 Segunda B behind-closed-doors play-off matches will include a minute's silence before kick-off in memory of Covid victims and their families, presumably followed by another 90 minutes' silence as the matches are being played behind closed doors. The ball will be sanitized before kick-off and then re-sanitized before every throw-in although not after the goalkeeper has touched the ball because he will have his gloves on. Deliberate handball will be deemed an automatic red card offence and the offending player made to self-isolate for 14 days thereafter. And finally, congratulations to Marbella FC on their upcoming promotion.

I need a beer after that and I only have 28 days to now get my head around the Tercera divisions play-offs involving 72 teams! Wish me luck.

1 comment:

  1. What a nightmare, sounds easier to just scrap it all. Supporting Fleetwood and the saintly Joey in the real football over here in blighty. Enjoy the games