Liga - Racing banned from 2014 Copa after 'strike for all of Spain'

Racing Santander have been banned from next year’s Copa del Rey after refusing to play their match against Real Sociedad.

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Liga - Racing banned from 2014 Copa after 'strike for all of Spain'
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The referee blows his whistle to stop the match as Racing Santander players stand in a line and refuse to play at the start of their King's Cup quarter-final second leg against Real Sociedad in Santander, northern Spain, January 30, 2014 (Reuters)

The Racing players, who have not been paid for several months, took to the pitch for Thursday night’s quarter-final second-leg but soon informed the referee that they were not going to participate in the match.

The game was abandoned and La Real, who won the first-leg 3-1, will progress to play Barcelona in the semi-final.

Racing had said they would not play in the match unless the club’s board resigned. They have gone several months without pay.

Marca reports that in accordance with the competition’s regulations, Racing have been removed from next year’s tournament and been given a €3,000 fine.

No players have been punished individually. Racing’s Coach, Paco Fernandez, had said he hoped the club wouldn’t receive any punishment for their actions.

A shareholders’ meeting called by court order this morning unanimously approved to dismiss the current board and appoint a new one.

The Racing players had said in a statement earlier this week that unless the club’s current board resigned, they would not play the second-leg of the Copa quarter-final against Real Sociedad.

President Angel Lavin and his board remained in place and so despite turning up and preparing for the game, once the referee blew the whistle for La Real to kick-off, Racing’s reluctance to play became clear as they stood arm-in-arm around the centre circle.

When Racing did have possession they moved the ball between each other before kicking it out of play. The referee then approached the Racing players, was told they had no intention of playing, and brought an end to the game.

Racing’s players and staff had met with the head of the players’ union on Thursday and their actions were fully backed by the association.

Speaking after the match, Racing midfielder Javi Soria admitted to mixed feelings about what had transpired.

“There is sadness and a kind of joy but it is a shame that it had to come to this,” he said.

“We have been clear since Monday and we have showed tonight that we are a team.

“We hope things get sorted out because we just want to get back to playing and trying to make Racing the best it can be.

“We hope there are no legal consequences because we have done this for the good of football, for the good of a city and for the whole of Spain because there are lots of similar cases and we wanted to set an example.”

Sociedad led the tie 3-1 from the first-leg and will now play Barcelona in the semi-finals, although this has to be ratified by the football federation.

Read the original article on Football Espana - The ultimate website for English-speaking fans of Spanish football

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