Rayo Vallecano stadium concerns shine a negative light on LaLiga
After finishing atop the Segunda División last term, Rayo Vallecano have had a difficult start to life back in the top flight. The Madrid club have lost their first two LaLiga games to Sevilla and Atlético Madrid, scoring only one goal along the way. Both were difficult fixtures to begin a campaign, but now their home ground is complicating matters as well.
Marca reported this week that the Estadio de Vallecas will be closed until at least October, as renovations and improvements at the stadium have become a genuine problem. Rayo have met with the league to discuss the situation, and there will be no public access while the work is being completed.
Problems include broken seating, unsanitary conditions in the stands and poor lighting. Many of these issues were present during their last stint in the first division a few years ago, and it seems that many of the problems were not properly addressed.
During the opening match against Sevilla, a young child was injured after falling due to the state of the stands, and supporters have been protesting the current conditions.
The important aspect is to get the necessary work done to improve the stadium, but it also opens up difficult discussions for LaLiga and Rayo as they try to find a suitable alternative until October. With the rough timeline given in reports, home matches against Athletic Club (September 1), Alavés (September 22) and Espanyol (September 28) will have to be played at an alternate venue.
Atlético’s Wanda Metropolitano has been mentioned as a possibility, but scheduling could prove to make that idea unlikely. Segunda División side Rayo Majadahonda are utilising the stadium already until January, making the addition of any other games extremely complicated.
While all potential options are explored, the entire situation seems to showcase LaLiga’s focus being in the wrong direction.
Looking internationally instead of domestically
With such dire circumstances surrounding Rayo Vallecano’s atmosphere, it is worrying to see that it took a child’s fall for action to be taken. LaLiga’s priority lately seems to be moving league matches from Spain to North America, when there is plenty that needs attention at home beyond just playing matches abroad.
All 20 LaLiga sides made their feelings about those games known, including the possibility of a strike. Teams stated that they were not consulted before these final decisions were made, highlighting the disconnect between the league and the clubs. If LaLiga simply ignored the issues at the Estadio de Vallecas, the dilemma could be even deeper than first thought.
Rayo Vallecano must find a temporary home, and find it quickly. LaLiga reacted swiftly in regards to an overall fix. However, seeing proper accommodations from both the club and the league sooner would have been an ideal scenario.