Report by our financial correspondent, Peregrine Percyfield.
Only six days to go until the new season kicks off, and the make-up of the second division is still unsure! The audit report on possible irregularities during Alcorcón's capital increase didn't materialize on Friday's due date, and until that is made clear the participation of the Madrid based club is still on hold, with Racing Santander on stand-by in case the report is negative and Alcorcón go down. With players and fans on tenterhooks, the local mayor met with Spain's sports minister last week, but even that was unable to clarify what is going on.
Meanwhile two more stories broke this week which could also influence the final composition of Spain's second level division, both concerning Racing. The first involves possible match fixing, with the game on the final day of the season between Hércules and the Cantabrians one of nine in the top two divisions currently under investigation by the league (LFP) following some strange betting patterns (Racing won 3-0, but it still wasn't enough to keep them up). With the official in charge of the case suspecting foul play, the LFP have announced that they are considering relegating Hércules to the second division B "as a precautionary measure" pending the resolution of the investigation, something which has fallen as a complete bombshell at the Alicante based side. Their immediate response was to issue a statement through their lawyers totally denying the facts, and threatening to take legal action against LFP president Javier Tebas for defamation of character, but the issue is likely to go on for some time.
A couple of days later though Racing Santander were involved in what has the makings of another scandal, the president of Girona Joaquim Boadas reporting that he had been approached after the season had finished by representatives of the club who had made a "dishonest proposition" to overturn a decision by the LFP about the inclusion of ineligible players in the Girona line-up. This was an old chestnut previously brought up by several teams about two youth team players who had exceeded the maximum number of games permitted with the first team, the LFP ruling that they would take no further action, partly as the Catalans were unaware of the little known rule. Girona claimed that they had been offered compensation for admitting that they knew about this all along, thereby (theoretically at least) handing the three points to their opponents which they needed to stay up. Racing (a club with a long and proud tradition but incredibly still under the control of fraudster Ali Syed despite extensive efforts to remove him and his cronies), at first denied the allegations, but when Boadas revealed to the press a secret recording of the conversation, current president "Harry" Levín issued a formal statement admitting that some discussions had in fact taken place, but defending their innocence.
In the meantime the federation (RFEF) finally published the provisional second division B groupings, albeit that there were few explanations of the decisions made, and matches have been scheduled to start a week later than expected to give clubs time to organize themselves. The newly formed Salamanca based side, Salamanca Athletic, were admitted after they bought the rights from the judge handling the case of the bankrupt UD Salamanca, and Cultural Leonesa were reinstated after they presented the required 400,000 bank guarantee a few days after the original deadline. The spot left vacant due to a second relegation of Xerez for failing to pay their players was adjudicated to third division regional group runners up Córdoba B, who had to put up the 300,000 that Xerez had defaulted on to be accepted.
Elsewhere Guadalajara grudgingly agreed that would have to start in the second division B, despite the fact that their appeal in the open courts for reinstatement will be heard when the judge eventually return from his vacation, although the north Madrid based team will be less than happy that they have been included in the southern regional division. The groupings provisionally include Racing Santander and Huesca, Racing in particular having signed seven players in a day assuming they will win back their place in the second division, and Huesca issuing a statement that they too expected to be reinstated. The usual confusion, and who knows how and when all of this will be sorted out! (10.08.13)
PS. It now appears that the powers-that-be will be deciding on all this on next Wednesday 14th, just two days before the first match of the season! As well as the obvious uncertainty that this is causing at Alcorcón, Hércules, Racing & Huesca, it only gives Tenerife and Zaragoza (opponents of Alcorcón and Hércules respectively) a couple of days to make travel arrangements, prepare the game and the rest. Unreal! (11.08.13)