MADRID (AFP) - Osasuna and Valladolid were relegated to the Spanish second division on Sunday, but the final round of La Liga matches was overshadowed by the collapse of a barrier which injured 58 fans at Osasuna’s El Sadar stadium in Pamplona.
The Navarran Red Cross confirmed 10 people, including children, were taken to hospital and a further 48 suffered minor injuries when the barrier gave way under the pressure of fans surging forward after Oriol Riera had given Osasuna the lead against already-relegated Real Betis.
A number of spectators had to be carried to safety on stretchers with the players helping to lift them to safety.
“Many thanks to the Osasuna staff, security team, fans and a number of people that have collaborated with the work of our volunteers,” the Navarran Red Cross added on their official Twitter page.
The match was suspended for 35 minutes whilst the area was secured and the second halves in three other matches affecting the fight against relegation were also delayed so that all four finished at the same time.
Once play got back underway Osasuna went on to win 2-1, but it wasn’t enough to extend their 14-year stay in the Primera Division as Granada’s 1-0 victory at Valladolid thanks to Stefan Mitrovic’s own-goal condemned both sides to the drop.
“It is a very sad day personally and professionally for me,” said Osasuna boss Javi Gracia.
“I am very sorry that the team has been relegated. I am sorry for the situation we have come to and I hope Osasuna will be back in the Primera as soon as possible.
“Despite winning, we didn’t have it in our own hands and the results didn’t go our way. At this time any analysis of the game and the situation has no meaning for me given the moment in which the team, the club and everyone is experiencing.”
Betis manager Gabriel Humberto Calderon, meanwhile, criticised the stadium’s state of repair.
“It had been many years since I had been to El Sadar. I was surprised by the state of the stadium in 2014 and the politicans need to do something to have a stadium that belongs to 2014 and Osasuna,” he said.
There was also disappointment for Valladolid as, despite taking points from both Barcelona and Real Madrid this season, they return to the Segunda after just two seasons in the top flight.
“I ask for the forgiveness of the club and the fans, I have not met the task handed to me when the club signed me last summer,” said Valladolid boss Juan Ignacio Martinez.
“It is clear that I am the most responsible, but I keep my head held high because my behaviour and honour has been irreproachable.”
Getafe ensured their safety as two goals from Ciprian Marica handed them a 2-1 victory at Rayo Vallecano, whilst a point was enough for Almeria as they drew 0-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao.