One of the first to announce that it was impossible to continue playing football that way was Pablo Acebal, a Sporting youth squad who, aged 33, decided that his work at the Gijón Port Authority was more important than rushing his last kicks to the ball in the Gijón Industrial. “It’s not just because of the job. Also to protect the family, my parents and grandparents ”, argues Acebal. He made the decision in preseason and, he adds, “unfortunately time has proved me right”, in reference to the high number of teams that were quarantined for covid positives.
“Soccer in Third is being a real drain for everyone,” adds Pablo Acebal in reference to the players and also to the clubs that cannot have an audience on the fields. He assures that at work they always gave him facilities to reconcile his obligations with football since his time at Langreo, and that nothing has changed: “It is not a matter of fear of the virus, but of responsibility.” He understands that other colleagues do not follow his example “because they cannot do without football money.”
This is not the case of Richard, another Asturian football classic with more than twenty seasons between Third and Second B, who after leaving Mosconia training for a few weeks returned to play on Saturday for a handful of reasons: “We are few in the team , the coach spoke to me to tell me that the criteria for quarantines had changed. And, above all, because I really want to continue playing football ”.
Before Richard, 40, had seen the ears of the wolf after a positive in his team: “They confined us at home for five days and I couldn’t allow it to happen again because I work in a supermarket warehouse and I’m not fixed.” He assures that there was no warning from his company, “but I understand that this cannot happen again.” He believes, in this sense, that the antigen tests that pass every Thursday can help other players with doubts to return to the fields.
For now, a possibility ruled out by Jairo Casal, who a few weeks ago decided to stop playing with Colunga, with compelling arguments: “For those of us who do not live off football, it is a difficult time. We risk the health of our family and also our work ”. Casal considers that “the risk of being unsubscribed is high, even taking precautionary measures. I work in a van rental company and we don’t have a very large staff, so I decided to leave the team ”
But there are more reasons: “You are living with twenty colleagues and no one is immune. My mother is in a risk group. If I am infected and am asymptomatic, I can take the problem home. There are many things because there are still silent doubts about the disease ”. Jairo Casal defines football as a “hobby”, which could be resumed next season: “It is being an atypical year. You don’t think about having a good time, but about the problems caused by the pandemic. The club behaved very well with me and I know that my doors are open ”.
Navarro also left them to Luis Alberto Cabeza, Roscales in football, in which he has been since he was three years old. Now, at 34, much to his regret he had to leave the team a month ago “because they gave me a touch in the company”, after spending ten days serving quarantine at home for a positive in the Navarro squad. Roscales, an employee of an Arcelor assistant, is passionate about football, “but I am very clear that what feeds me is work.”
At the beginning, Roscales went to Tabiella to watch his team’s matches, but he is thinking of not going back “because I had a very bad time. Since they started doing the antigen tests, I thought about rejoining because now they only isolate the player who tests positive, but I prefer to wait. They told me at the club that if things improved I could come back. I will wait until January because, in addition, I am asthmatic and I do not play with my health. I always go with hydroalcoholic gel, with the mask on and another just in case ”. It is clear that if this is prolonged “I will give my file so that Navarro can use it.”
Together with Tuilla (Álvaro Pozo and Dani Hevia, who did not want to talk about their case), the Third team most affected is Avilés Stadium, which has lost two players. After Mario, who runs a physiotherapy clinic, it was Adrián who decided to step aside. After a long career, which led him to teams like Mosconia, Langreo, L’Entregu, Avilés, Quirinal and Roces, Adrián Sánchez Ávila entered the history of the Stadium by scoring the first goal in Third. Then came the stoppage and the quarantines that some cannot afford.
“There will be players from two or three Third Teams who make a living from this, but most of it depends on their work,” says Adrián, who is a welding inspector and works shifts. “They didn’t comment on anything at the company, I did it for consistency,” says the defender, who has more arguments: “I don’t see it logical to take risks by kicking the ball four times. I was also ashamed to continue playing while I saw how other sectors are doing, such as the hospitality industry ”.
Adrián is clear why Third Party football does not stop: “The clubs cannot stop training and playing because the Asturian and Spanish federations would lose a lot of money.” At the Stadium they respected his decision, which clarifies: “It bothers me more, but this is still entertainment.” He does not rule out returning this season, but it will depend on the health situation: “I commented in the club that I will not return until the infection rate drops. We shouldn’t have played in Grado when in Asturias we were almost a thousand. If the rate goes down and the vaccine works, I will have no problems getting back on track ”.
“People who have jobs are scared. Some have already been given the touch in the company “, emphasizes Adrián, who regrets everything that the health crisis carries with it:” Having to change in the stands and not being able to shower on the field throws you back. During the preseason I discussed it with my partner Mario and we did not understand that the start of the competition was being forced ”.
One of the sports that is suffering the most cases of covid-19 is handball. It occurs in the elite, with several affected Asobal league matches, and in categories such as the First National, where five Asturian teams play. One of them, Unión Financiera Base Oviedo, lost very early this season one of its homegrown players, Carlos Alberto Sánchez Norniella, Charly. “I renewed for the Base and started the preseason, but I became afraid of putting the virus at work,” explains the pivot from Oviedo. “I am an operating room nurse and since the beginning of the year I have been in an ICU ward of the Jove hospital, in Gijón. It is a question of responsibility. In the team we are 18 guys training together, without a mask ”.
Charly not only applied that sense of responsibility to sports: “Since all this began, I have been quite a bubble and I hardly even see my parents.” It was not necessary for the hospital to warn him of the danger: “It was my thing. If necessary, I would not feel good if something happened because of a contagion because of me. I am in contact with very delicate people. In the hospital I am protected, with all the necessary security measures. So staying with the team was a risk he shouldn’t take ”.
That does not mean that I do not miss handball: “When schools started I had an attempt to return. I went for a couple of days to train. But we played a friendly in Zarauz and in the rival team there was a positive, so I decided to leave it ”. And adds: “Hopefully it will be a parenthesis, but this season I give it up for lost. I try to maintain myself physically and next season, if the club agrees, I would like to play again ”.
He believes that this will be the case: “I’m from the quarry and I have a great relationship with the president, Pepe Rionda, and with Caco. They perfectly understood my decision, which I had more or less hinted at earlier in the season. The coach also felt that I was very responsible on my part. Furthermore, I am still linked to the club as coordinator of the covid-19 ”.
Another handball player, IMQ Group goalkeeper Adrián Díaz Cabo, left the team after three days: “It was when things started to get ugly. I discussed it at home and made the decision. More than for work, I do it for the health of my parents ”. Adrián, a physiotherapist, has been playing handball for fifteen years and does not rule out returning this season if the contagion curve continues to drop and the effectiveness of the vaccine is confirmed. The Gijon goalkeeper was not even convinced by the measures that became common in handball. “I used to wear a mask in training, but I didn’t get to play with it. Now many of my teammates wear it to play, but I preferred to minimize risks ”, concludes