Anyone who has played a sport, or engaged in some sort of activity that involves a struggle, has (at least once) reached a breaking point. When you’re on a team, the breaking point can come for multiple team members or the organization as a whole. When that happens, you’ve been defeated.
No side in sports currently embodies that more than third-tier Spanish side CD Eldense, who made PSG’s capitulation look like heroism. This needs explaining, so we’ll explain. For starters, PSG can still go on to win the French League and the Coupe de France. What’s more, they’re already won the Coupe de la Ligue, which means they’re capable of winning the domestic triple despite having been embarrassed on international television.
CD Eldense, however, were not emasculated on live TV while millions watched, but they were defeated in such an epic manner that they quit in an almost as epic manner.
Here’s what happened:
Eldense took on Segunda División B leaders Barcelona B (yes, their youth team) and found themselves losing 8-0 at the half. Knowing that defeat would seal their relegation to the fourth tier of Spanish footy, the team responded in kind… by allowing another four goals after halftime. The loss was clearly too much to bear, as Eldense took to Twitter shortly after the match to announce plans to “provisionally cease all sporting activity,” in addition o terminating their contract with the Italian investment group that’s been backing them all season.
Comunicado Oficial Club Deportivo Eldense sobre el fondo inversor italiano y jugadores de la primera plantilla.https://t.co/jS2sAbDXzA
— C. D. Eldense (@CD_Eldense) April 2, 2017
Agradecer a todos los aficionados, antiguos jugadores y entidades que nos están haciendo llegar mensajes de apoyo.
— C. D. Eldense (@CD_Eldense) April 1, 2017
If your Spanish is a touch rusty, the second tweet is a thank you note to the fans, former players and staff. It should’ve been a apology, but whatever.
La Liga President Javier Tebas has since stated that the defeat will be investigated for match-fixing after the Eldense board requested a probe into the matter. If you think that the Italian investors have something to do with this, not because you think Italians are shifty but because the Italian Serie A has been rife with match-fixing for years, then you and Tebas are thinking along the same lines.
“We are going to look into it because the Eldense board have asked us to and the result at half time was out of the ordinary,” Tebas told reporters in Spain on Monday. “We’re going to investigate because there are certain collateral issues with an Italian investment group that bear the hallmarks of the possible involvement of an international betting ring with a view to match-fixing.”
Then you have one of the players coming out and straight up saying, “Yeah, that was fixed.”
ELdense player Cheikh Saad spoke to Spanish radio station RAC1 and implicated four players and the coach.
“There are four players involved in match fixing. I don’t care what happens, but when I can, I will give the names of these players,” he said. “Half an hour before playing the game against Barcelona B I was starting, but then I was out of the line up. They told a teammate this game was fixed and if he wanted to play he should not score goals. They didn’t ask me as they knew what my answer would be. The coach knew something, I’m sure, and the players too.
But wait, there’s more!
“The coach told me to come on and I told him I did not want to. I also told my teammates on the bench that they shouldn’t go out on to the pitch if they didn’t want their names to be stained.”
Should Eldense have miraculously won, they still would’ve gone on to secure relegation as they’d still be some 11 points behind the second to last place team. It remains to be seen whether the team is folding due to the devastating way they lost or if they’re doing so to root out the bad seeds in the organization and start fresh next year.
Since the news broke yesterday, Eldense head coach Filippo di Pierro has been arrested. Makes you really wonder who was betting on this match, how much was being placed on the match, and, most importantly, why anyone would bother fixing a match that was going to be an epic defeat regardless.