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‘Complex challenge’: Mallorca CEO responds after pitch invader clicks selfie with Lionel Messi

Even as the Spanish league, LaLiga, restarted after the forced break due to the coronavirus pandemic, a controversy broke out over a pitch invader interrupted the clash between FC Barcelona and RCD Mallorca. Mallorca’s new CEO Alfonso Diaz has assured that the club will be looking to ensure stricter security protocols in the future. In the 52nd minute of the match between the two clubs on Saturday, a fan wearing an Argentina jersey ran on the football pitch at Visit Mallorca Stadium (Son Moix) to click selfies with Lionel Messi.

The security personnel grabbed the pitch invader, took him out of the stadium, and deleted the one image (“wasn’t a very good one” in his own words) he had managed to click with his phone. But the incident has led La Liga to seek criminal action against the fan for his actions.

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During a group conference call with reporters, Diaz replied to a query posed by Hindustan Times on what security measures can be added to the stadium to avoid such instances.

“Regarding security, we have a number of protocols prescribed by the La Liga that we are following with all the different sectors that are divided on the match day at the stadiums. We have a lot of security, the stadium is big, as compared to the security that we have,” he said.

“But it’s true that if we have a pitch invader, we need to improve security. That’s real and we are working on that,” he added.

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Diaz further said that the problem of tackling pitch invaders amid the ‘no fans’ era is a complex challenge. “But the situation is that we are following all the protocols regarding security measures and the number of security guards that we need to have around the stadium. It’s a very unique situation, playing without fans. But at the same moment, you have to prevent the stadium from pitch invaders. It’s complex,” he said.

On being asked how can fans be informed about the importance of social distancing measures, Diaz insisted that people on the island of Mallorca are fully aware of the gravity of the situation due to the number of lives that have been lost due to the pandemic in Spain.

“I think everyone here on the island in Spain, due to all the lives that we have lost due to this pandemic, is fully committed to maintaining a healthy, sanitary environment. The Spanish people are doing everything they can of taking care of themselves,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Mallorca, who are currently placed at the 18th position in the La Liga table with 25 points in 29 games, will look to get out of the relegation zone when they face the bottom-placed Leganes on Friday.

Speaking on the potential relegation chances, Diaz said: “It’s true we are the lowest budget and the lowest salary cap club in La Liga. This is not an excuse. We have to fight every game. We have to give more than 100 percent in every game,” he said.

“We are one point below the safe zone. We are fighting hard to save the campaign, and I am sure we will achieve it.”

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