Gerard Piqué’s Kings League evicts the Espanyol sections

Barcelona“Collect all the things this weekend, because we start work on Monday and you won’t be able to stay here.” This was the notice received by the three clubs using the facilities of the ZAL, a multi-sports hall located in the port area of ​​Barcelona that the Kings League has transformed into the Cupra Arena in record time after Kosmos reached a express agreement with the Port of Barcelona, ​​the owner of the venue. With less than 72 hours to react and find an alternative place to train and play, Torre Negra, Inter Hospitalet and the Spanish Sports Sections were expelled from the space they had occupied for several seasons.

For all three entities, a forced move in the middle of the season involved the risk of not being able to train again for the rest of the year. A scenario that becomes a particularly serious problem in a city, Barcelona, ​​where the deficit of sports equipment is evident and, therefore, the difficulty of finding new pavilions available in the short and medium term. Kosmos’ use of the ZAL will not be limited to the first edition of the Kings League, which is scheduled to end at the end of March. The space will also be home to the Queens League, which will be held during the spring, and could later host new editions of the Kings League. After the reform carried out to turn it into a 7-a-side football field, the pavilion has become unusable for clubs that want to play basketball or other sports there.

“We understood that it was a complicated situation for the teams that had a contract with Port, which is why we undertook to find them an alternative”, sources from the Kings League explain to ARA. In recent weeks, Kosmos representatives have helped two of the affected clubs to resume their activity in new locations: Inter Hospitalet will have to go to Gavà, 18 kilometers from ZAL, while Terra Negra will be able to do it in Poliesportiu Nord Campus managed, in Les Corts, by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). Before tying this new location, the third they studied, the Terra Negra had to be exiled to the courtyard of the IES Consell de Cent, where there is only a changing room and no roof. If it rains, you can’t play.

SD Espanyol have been left out of this equation. Its president, Arnau Baqué, attributes it to the rivalry that the president of the Kings League, Gerard Piqué, maintains with the white-and-blue club. A theory that Kings League sources flatly deny to ARA: “They told us from Port that they only had a contract with the other two clubs, but not with SD Espanyol”. According to Baqué, the SD Espanyol had been maintaining a contractual link with the authority that manages the ZAL for years. “We have a signed contract with the Port that was renewed season after season. They have breached the agreement and we are considering legal action. When we have a new track we will calculate when it will cost us to finish the season and we will report the Port for breach of contract”, explains the president of the white-and-blue sections.

Baqué regrets that, unlike the other affected clubs, they have not been offered an alternative. During the last month and a half, they have fished as much as they could to train in facilities such as the INEF or the CEM Estació del Nord, where they found holes during the Christmas holidays. But with the gradual return to the activity of sports teams of lower categories, the teams of the Spanish sections that made sporadic or regular use of the ZAL (the first men’s and women’s basketball teams, the senior men’s futsal team and the senior men’s handball) have once again run out of places to train.

The solution, in the Eixample

“After having moved heaven and earth and having received negative responses to the more than 30 calls we made to pavilions, schools and sports centers throughout the metropolitan area, it seems that we have finally found a hole”, he continues Bacchus Els Llorers School, on Calle Aragó (Eixample), will put an end to the ordeal they have experienced in recent weeks. “It’s still lucky that it happened to us in December, because if this happened to us in September we might have had to withdraw from the competition”, says the president of SD Espanyol, who regrets the ways and the haste with which they were kicked out ‘a space that took them several months of bureaucratic procedures to obtain. “We needed the recommendations of some important companies in the consortium, because in theory the use of the ZAL was limited to its members”, he recalls.

The basketball one was one of the first white-and-blue sports sections that recovered now just over five years ago. Now, its first men’s team, which has in its ranks ‘Tata’ Laprovittola, the brother of the Barça star, is looking for promotion to the EBA League, where the subsidiaries of Barça, Real Madrid or of Movistar Estudiantes. Another obstacle in the way of some sections that will be six years old this year despite remaining independent from the football club.



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