We are in a pandemic, the pavilions are closed and revenues are falling, but Spar Girona changes coach, organizes Euroleague stages … Are they brave or unconscious?
We try to be true to a philosophy and at times it may seem contradictory, but we are a club that we are used to paving the way for and that no one gives us anything. And that sometimes makes us have to make decisions that involve taking a risk. But that is the temperament of the club. We are concerned about the situation around us, but that concern will not stop us.
Will the Euroleague be played both yes and no in Fontajau?
For now, speaking of the pandemic, no one is able to make predictions. We have seen this in governments and their management of the coronavirus. We can not pretend to be futurists, but looking at the data of the last few days it seems that on the 23rd we will return to the situation before these last restrictions. In our case, this would mean being able to have an audience in the matches and, regardless of whether there is finally an audience or not, for the Euroleague to be played safely in Fontajau.
With an audience? Isn’t that being very optimistic?
Without going into optimism or pessimism, if the pandemic data continues to fall, no longer only for basketball, but also for culture or catering, I trust that we can go back to the previous measures, which limited us the capacity to a maximum of fifty percent of the capacity of the pavilion of Fontajau.
If the Euroleague can be played with the public, will it be only for Spar Girona subscribers?
In the ranking of priorities, the first is to fit all our subscribers. We were around 1,600 and with the appeal of the Euroleague we think that even some who had yet to renew or who had not decided to pay for the first time, end up doing so. Last year we reached 2,600 and therefore we still have room. But in the current pandemic situation, we also don’t want to reach the maximum number of seats we can offer, which is a little over 2,000.
In Girona, today the restrictions are very strong and in two weeks they want Fontajau to be able to see Uni play against a Russian team, an Italian team and a Latvian team. Aren’t they very daring?
I don’t know if the word is bold or truly we have no choice but to always go one step further. The club has never had it easy. I come from the experience of the masculine and truly in the feminine you have to always work twice as hard to get the same, or less. That’s the reality, but the spirit of this club is not to complain and always see what we can do to take a little step up. And this small step involves more decisions such as making summer camps in the middle of a pandemic with more than 400 participants, organizing a Euroleague bubble and, in the same vein, a decision such as dismissing the coach than for some people maybe it was a surprise. We hadn’t lost five or six games, there were no whistles in the stands … None of this had happened, but we thought we had to improve.
To be better not to win, but to be able to be viable.
We thought the way to survive was to offer a quality show. This is our eleventh season in the Women’s League-1 and at the beginning came the loyal audience of women’s basketball or others simply because of the novelty. In recent years we have had to hear many things, such as that horrible phrase that “women’s basketball is neither basketball nor women’s”; but we are at a time when we can say very proudly that we do very good basketball and that it is very feminine. We do not give up the values of the club and we have to fight a lot in a complicated day to day in the middle of the pandemic.
Against Ensino, in Alfred Julbe’s first game in Fontajau, a good basketball was seen. Too bad there was no audience.
The change of direction must go beyond the match against Ensino. We look forward to a step forward in the major matches. In a couple of weeks, with the Euroleague it will be a first taste to see how the team responds with the new coach, then comes the match in Salamanca …
How do you see Julbe?
He has come with great enthusiasm and at the same time with humility to first land and then see how he can help us improve. There are details of him that I really like, for example, that this week that there was a break in the first team for the FIBA commitments, he has been training with the young players who were here and with some of the second team. From Monday to Friday, every morning and afternoon.
There is a lot of talk about the show, but now in Fontajau you can’t play with the public. Does basketball make sense with the empty pavilion?
I think playing without an audience is a timely moment. In the first wave it was unfeasible to continue with the competitions if there were no bubbles like the ones the ACB did in Valencia, but what is happening now I think is a one-off event and we will soon be playing with the public again. With capacity restrictions, but with spectators because their presence is essential for us and we all look forward to the moment, whether this season or next, to see Fontajau full again until the flag.
And what would happen if on the 23rd the pavilions remain closed?
Well, if on the 23rd we are told that we must continue to play without an audience, then we will play without an audience. We will then analyze the situation and take the necessary measures.
If the restrictions are extended, membership fees must be returned to members.
Everyone is seeing that the will of the club is not to resign. From the first we negotiated with Procicat and the City Council so that the project could continue in its full sense. Obviously the issue of quotas should be raised, for now we have played a game without an audience, and at the end of the season we will see what the damage has been to the fans and if people want we will act accordingly. We hope that the matches without an audience in Fontajau will be as short as possible.
If they had to return much of the membership fees, would the club’s viability be in jeopardy?
The financial effort is so great that if we take out the fees, which, the income from ticket sales, we subtract part of the casals, have a few hundred fewer subscribers … If we add all this, we would obviously endanger the viability of the club. Nor is it a new situation and I think the future of the club is assured, but it should be seen what the competitive level would be. This year we have lowered the budget, but as the whole market has gone down we have been able to continue to make a competitive team.