MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s parliamentary election on Sunday is being cursed by fans of Levante, who risk losing goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez for their La Liga trip to Athletic Bilbao after he was called up to work at a polling station.
To make matters worse, reserve stopper Oier Olazabal is injured, meaning they could potentially be without a senior goalkeeper for the fixture.
Fernandez, who is from the Basque town of Mondragon approximately 50 kilometres from Bilbao, has been drafted onto a list of reserves who are required to attend the polling station on the morning of the election to see whether their presence is required.
All Spaniards on the electoral register are liable to be called up to work at polling stations, for which they are paid 65 euros ($72), and require mitigating circumstances to be excused.
Levante, who stunned Barcelona 3-1 last weekend, have seen an initial appeal rejected by the local Electoral Commission, however they are set to present a second request on Friday.
“The club’s working so that I don’t have to go there (polling station) on Sunday,” Fernandez said.
“I just want to know what’s going on. I’m fully focused on the game and I’m certain I’ll be playing in it.
“If needs be I can sleep at home, go down to the station, and then get myself to San Mames by car.”
Levante are citing a precedent set by Bilbao’s Inaki Williams in 2015, who was excused from polling duty so he could play his side’s La Liga fixture – ironically against Levante. Williams scored as the Basque side won 2-0.
Fernandez’s team mate Jorge Miramon has been excused duty after being drafted in to work in his hometown of Zaragoza.
(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Toby Davis)