Financial problems have club founded in 1889 on brink of extinction

icon brokenball23 March ~ With the Spanish media focused on Neymar’s problems with the tax office, another story has gone relatively unreported – the plight of Recreativo de Huelva. Formed in 1889 by two Scottish workers at the Rio Tinto mine, Recreativo are Spain’s oldest club. Though they have spent just five seasons in the top flight throughout their history, most recently 2009, they are nicknamed El Decano – The Dean, or “senior member”.

Unpaid tax bills have brought Recreativo, currently in the Segunda B, to their knees, and they haven’t paid their employees for three months. The game last weekend against Granada B was billed as potentially their final match and the entrance fee was reduced to €1, with over 19,000 turning up. It may not be enough to save them, though, and the match got a tiny amount of space in the Spanish media compared to Neymar’s tax scandal. As Phil Ball, author of Morbo, has written for Sport360, the contrast in coverage seemed “depressingly symbolic of how far football has become unhooked from its roots, and the way that we nevertheless care far more about how much Neymar owes the Brazilian tax authorities than of the death of a football club and the community it has served for 125 years”. You can read Phil’s full article on Recreativo de Huelva here.

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