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CD Veracruz: Walking is better than standing

The main road leading to the “Estadio Luis de la Fuente” in Veracruz, Mexico was nearly empty last Wednesday afternoon, although there were only some minutes left before the start of the match. Nearly nobody wanted to see the “Tiburones Rojos” (Spanish for white sharks) playing last Wednesday, and nearly nobody could blame the fans: CD Veracruz, the home side, has forgotten the taste of victory for nearly 9 months and 25 official matches.

There was some action in the main alley after some minutes. CD Veracruz players, already wearing their match kits, are well seen walking the road to the stadium entrance. No bus arriving, just feet. They came from different directions, totally unorganized, some of them using the public transport, some others walking all the way from their homes to the stadium. A scene which is popular at a local kickabout, but totally incredible for a Primera Division Mexicana  team, which was about to play an official game for the national cup against a 2nd division opponent, Alebrijes de Oaxaca.

This was nothing else but another way to protest. Not so shocking as the last one, but surely convincing that there’s a problem. They haven’t received their wages for the last six months, so the vast majority of them face problems of survival rather than focusing to their football duties.

Some days ago, their financial problem went viral globally. They refused to play the opening minutes of their Liga MX match against Tigres as a way to protest, allowing their opponent to score twice in the opening five minutes by just standing still. Their opponents joined them for the first minute, but then decided to break curfew and score, receiving the total football fans distaste.

CD Veracruz president Fidel Kuri said that “the players wanted to send a message that wasn’t discussed, but they are in their right. We were once again the joke of the nation, or the world with this topic”. The match ended in Tigres 3-1 victory, as after the first minutes Veracruz players were more than competitive.

It was an embarrassing decision, but not salutary for their interests. Their poor record in the league went worse, as they now have minimal chances of avoiding relegation. A club decrease to a 2nd division team status won’t convince anyone that they really deserve what they’ve agreed to receive.

That’s why they changed their tactics. Going to the ground on foot was fully televised, with some players stating that they have no electricity in their houses and some others admitting that they eat only a sandwich for a whole day.

Only 320 tickets have been sold for the match. These lucky and loyal club fans could save their tickets, as they’ve been historic: Veracruz has narrowly won the match by 1-0, thanks to a 33th minute goal by Jesus Henestrosa. The goal was highly celebrated among the players, giving them a reason to fight till the end of the season. Nobody knows what’s going to happen next, but a bankrupt team which is still winning could be more popular than one giving away goals on purpose.

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