Vandals sabotage floodlights in Madrid vs 'Rayo' game
MADRID, Spain (AFP) — Real Madrid's La Liga match at Rayo Vallecano was postponed yesterday after vandals reportedly sabotaged the floodlights by cutting through electrical cables.
"Vandals have cut cables, we tried to solve the problem. We will leave it to the police to find out who is responsible," said Rayo's president Raul Martin Presa.
"This was a disgrace, sabotage, it was an attack on our stadium."
It was later agreed by both clubs that the game would be played at 7:45 pm local time today.
Fans were not allowed into Vallecano's Estadio de Vallecas ground for security reasons for a match which had been due to start at 9:30 pm local time.
Real were desperate for a win in the match having made a dismal start to the season to languish 11 points behind leaders Barcelona after just one win in four games.
Local politician Cristina Cifuentes said an investigation will be opened to discover the full reason why the floodlights failed at the Vallecano ground in the south-eastern suburbs of Madrid.
"We cannot jump to conclusions but we need to find the culprits if indeed this was a case of sabotage," she said.
Some reports suggested that fans were angry over ticket prices for the high-profile match being hiked.
The president of the Madrid football federation Vicente Temprado was worried about the damage the incident will have on the image of the game in Spain, the home of the world and European champions.
"This is very negative for football in our country that a game which was to be beamed around the world has not gone ahead — whether it is due to sabotage and a lack of security or not," he said.
Sources from television channel Canal Plus say cables were cut and the floodlight failure was not due to heavy rain in the area.
In matches that did take place, Malaga maintained their unbeaten start to the season as they hung on for a 0-0 draw against a much-improved Athletic Bilbao, who dominated the encounter.
Manuel Pellegrini's side have started the season brightly with three wins but were pegged back by an Athletic side who produced some of their best football of the campaign so far but they crucially lacked an end product.
Mallorca and Atletico Madrid maintained their strong starts with 2-0 and and 2-1 victories over Valencia and Valladolid respectively, while Levante beat Real Sociedad 2-1.