Cadiz defender Rafael Gimenez Jarque – known as ‘Fali’ – has refused to return to training amid fears on player safety and will forego his wage packet.
A former youth player with Villarreal and Levante, Fali – who has made 23 league appearances for the second tier leaders who are on course for promotion – has become the first Spain-based player to publicly speak out against the proposals of returning to football.
The nation has been in a state of emergency since 13 March but last week, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez clarified plans to ease the nation back into some sense of normality as coronavirus cases begin to reduce.
Players have subsequently returned to club’s training facilities this week to undergo coronavirus testing with a hopeful return of training sessions by this weekend.
“I do not plan to play football and I will not ask for wages because I am a player of principles,” Fali reiterated in Cadena Cope, and further cited by Marca. “I will not charge the club because I do not deserve it. The most important thing is my health and that of my daughters.
“I will not names any names, but there are other players who are afraid to play too, they have told me.
“I have a little money saved, if I need to find another job I will do so – but I do not want to expose myself or my family.
“Footballers look like superheroes but we are just people and right now I am going to wait. Maybe in 10 or 15 days, I will return to training.”
Cadiz president Manuel Vizcaíno has said: “He is wrong, but he does not lie to anyone. He is afraid and we have to work to remove his fear. I think I am going to get Fali back.”
Fali told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope’s El Partidazo programme last month: “We are crazy if we have any intention of playing football because we would be exposing ourselves to a high level of risk.
“I will not train or play again if there is any risk. If I have to quit football, I will.
“I want La Liga and health authorities to at least sign a contract with the players giving us 100% assurances that it (playing and training) is safe.”
As outlined by Goal, players can return to individual training session on 4 May with a de-escalation plan that will have four phases, each lasting a minimum of two weeks, and that should lead to some form of normality by the end of June – ‘gradually and asymmetrically’.
Phase 0: basic training for professional athletes
Phase 1: medium training and opening of high-performance centres
Phase 2: authorisation of outdoor activities with less than 400 attendees
Phase 3: return to the ‘new standard’, with no specific references to sport.
Image via Diario de Cadiz