Water polo seasons in France and Spain won’t be continued, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the respective national federations announced yesterday.
Yesterday evening, the Spanish Swimming Federation (RFEN) announced the cancelation of the championships by a short Facebook post:
“During the online meeting between the RFEN and all the presidents of the clubs of the Leagues Premaat (seniors national championships), some clubs expressed their willingness to return to play. But given the current reality and circumstances, a unanimous consensus was reached on ending the championships. “
The Federation still hasn’t announced if the champions would be declared. To date, there are approximately 185.000 coronavirus cases in Spain with almost 20.000 deaths.
The current ranking of the Spanish male championships: 1, Barceloneta 38 pts (14 games), 2. Barcelona 34 (14), 3, Terrassa 34 (15), 4, Sabadell 30 (14), 5, Mataro 26 (15), 6, Mediterrani 23 (15), 7. Sant Andreu 16 (15), 8. Catalunya 12 (15), 9. Real Canoe 12 (14), 10. Navarra 8 (14), 11. Tenerife 1 (15).
On the other side, the French Swimming Federation (FFN) issued a statement yesterday. Water polo competitions are definitively stopped. As for the First Leagues (League Elite), the title of the champion of France won’t be awarded, and none of the clubs won’t be relegated to the lower leagues. FFN decided to “freeze” the classification of the league as on the date of March 13, when the competition was suspended.
According to this classification, Marseille would participate in the Champions League, as well as in this season. Since last summer, Marseille has been among the clubs which have the wild cards for the Champions League. Pays d’Aix and Tourcoing would play in the Champions League qualifications, while Noisy-le-Sec and Strasbourg would secure their spots in the Euro Cup.
The Federation announced that it had already taken steps to obtain the sixth place for France in the LEN club’s competitions. Montpellier is in the 6th place, so if LEN gives FFN the sixth spot in the European cups, Montepellier will play at the international stage.
FFN underlined that, before making the decision, it had considered all the possible scenarios, including finishing the championships beyond June 30, even in September. But the Federation “quickly became aware of the problems, like the health risks, the fact that the contracts with many players will expire by the end of June, while the foreign players maybe won’t able to return to France this summer because the borders are closed…” France has over 165.000 coronavirus cases, while more than 17.000 people died.
The current ranking of the French male championships:1 Marseille 39 (14), 2. Pays d’Aix 34 (14), 3. Tourcoing 27 (13), 4. Noisy-le-Sec 27 (14), 5. Strasbourg 21 (13), 6. Montpellier 16 (11), 7. Douai 12 (14), 8.Nice 10 (13), 9. Reims 9 (14), 10. Sete 4 (14).
Other European water polo and swimming federations still haven’t made their final decisions. The Hungarian Water Polo Federation will hold a meeting on May 15, but its president Atilla Vari hopes that the competitions can be finished during the summer.
Italian players and coaches call Federation not to cancel the leagues. It’s expected that the Italian Swimming Federation will make some decisions early in May.
All competitions in aquatic sports in Greece (including water polo leagues) are suspended at least until June 15.
Leagues in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro are suspended until further notice, as well as the Regional League. Before the suspension because of the pandemic, the Regional League was close to its finish, since only five matches are remaining until the end – Final Four in Dubrovnik (Jug, Mladost, Jadran Split and Jadran Herceg Novi qualified for F4) and the relegation playoffs between Partizan and Primorje. But, besides all other necessary conditions for the eventual continuation of the Regional League (heath security, reopening the pools…) is the opening of the currently closed borders between the ex-Yugoslavia countries.
The German leagues are suspended until May 3.
The competitions in Russia are stopped until April 30. The Russian Water Polo Federation is interested in completing the season and determining the winners of all the Russian championships and the Cups of Russia. In the latest statement, the Federation said that it would make every effort to ensure the ending of the competitions.