There is no title race in Europe as competitive as that of LaLiga Santander, with four teams all within touching distance of the top of the table. Defending champions Real Madrid are joined by FC Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid and Sevilla FC in this battle for domestic glory and each candidate has a tough match coming up this weekend before they face off against each other next week. The two capital city sides have their matches on Saturday, before Barça play on Sunday and Sevilla on Monday.
The very first game of the weekend is the Friday night fixture between RC Celta and Levante UD, a match which takes on added importance given that Celta’s recent good form has put them in with a chance of European qualification. Currently eight points behind the last European qualification spot with five rounds to go, they need the three points and will look to take advantage of Levante’s recent poor form (five defeats in six).
A Basque derby kicks off Saturday’s action as D. Alaveshost SD Eibar. This is more than just a derby as both sides are in the bottom five and sweating for their LaLiga Santander survival. Then, at 4.15pm CEST, Elche CF host Atlético de Madrid as the home side target the three points to help with their own survival efforts and as the visitors look to get back on track in their title charge following a defeat last weekend. After several weeks of missing players through injury and suspension, Los Rojiblancos are finally getting healthy and will be full of energy after a midweek with no fixture.
At 9pm CEST on Saturday night, Real Madrid continue their quest to defend the championship they won last year with a home encounter with CA Osasuna. These two sides played out a goalless draw in the Pamplona snow earlier in the campaign but will now meet on the first day of May at Real Madrid’s Estadio Di Stéfano in Valdebebas – a stadium which has seen its fair share of torrential weather in recent weeks!
Sunday begins with Real Valladolid vs Real Betis and, once again, it’s a match with so much at stake. Real Valladolid are currently the last team inside the relegation zone, while Los Verdiblancos will be looking to jumpstart their European push again after five consecutive draws. Villarreal CF face Getafe CF next and the Yellow Submarine know they can’t afford to take it easy. Unai Emery’s men are currently in seventh and in the final European spot, but they’ll want to move up the table to turn their Conference League ticket into another Europa League pass.
Then, the 9pm CEST Saturday night fixture is one of the biggest and best in Spanish football. Valencia CF vs FC Barcelona is a huge duel between two sides who have produced some classics over the years. Their past 15 meetings have thrown up seven Barça wins, three Valencia CF wins and five draws, with 53 goals scored for an average of 3.5 goals per game. Their encounter at Camp Nou earlier this season ended 2-2 and, should Los Che hold Barça again, it would be yet another twist in a thrilling title race.
The race for the title continues into Monday night, when Sevilla FC look to make it six wins in a row against Athletic Club. Julen Lopetegui’s side have propelled themselves into the race since the March international break with seven wins from their last eight, but will be wary of an Athletic Club side that seriously dented tleti’s title hopes last weekend. No matter what the situation at the top of the table is by kick-off of this Monday night fixture, it’ll be a can’t miss encounter to round off the weekend’s action.
The Spanish league has always stood out for the quality of its football and the performances of its sides in Europe. More than that, though, all its clubs are genuinely unique.
The 2020/21 LaLiga Santander season is reaching a dramatic climax, both at the top, in the fight for the title and the European spots, and bottom of the table in the battle against relegation. But beyond the on-field drama, the stadiums and rivalries, there are so many more reasons to follow LaLiga Santander closely week in, week out. Here are 20 reasons why LaLiga is unique in world football.
Athletic Club’s unique philosophy. In an increasingly globalised world, Athletic buck the trend. They’ve stayed true to the same philosophy since 1911, only fielding Basque players or those trained in the region. As the players often say, they’re a group of close friends facing up against the best teams in the world. ‘The Cathedral,’ as the club’s San Mames stadium is known, stands proud as Athletic continue to stand strong as a bastion of tradition in an ever-changing world.
The genius of Lionel Messi. One of the greatest players of all time, if not the best. FC Barcelona was already one of the biggest clubs in world football, thanks to the legacy of the likes of Cruyff, Maradona and Ronaldinho, and its iconic style of total football which has spread across the world. But La Pulga (‘the flea’) has taken them to another level for over a decade now. Every minute he represents Barça in LaLiga Santander is unmissable.
The winning mentality of Real Madrid. Champions among champions. Without their influence, football today wouldn’t be the same. They boast more LaLiga Santander and Champions Leagues titles than any other club in history and have counted (and continue to count) the very best players in world football among their ranks. But that’s never enough. They take each game as if it were a final, keeping fans on the edge of their seats until the final whistle every single week. As club legend Juanito said: “90 minutes at the Bernabeu is a very long time.” When the Bernabeu roars, absolutely anything can happen.
The resilience and passion of Simeone’s Atletico. One match at a time, the Argentine coach is making history with Los Colchoneros. Under his leadership, traditional, tough football has evolved into a unique balance of pragmatism and solid brilliance. Each match is a beautiful story of overcoming. An approach which has taken the club to the heights of LaLiga’s historical big two. Add in Atleti’s incredible and passionate fans, a fanbase almost unmatched in their unconditional commitment to the cause.
The burgeoning talents of Sevilla FC: The Andalusian club are strongly rooted in their community, and their city. Nevertheless, they’ve cleverly embraced the outside world and new ideas to become one of the most progressive clubs in European football, leading the way with a highly envied scouting network. Under the leadership of sporting director Monchi, the club has gone from LaLiga SmartBank in 2001 to winning a record six Europa Leagues with players who went on to become world stars. Tune in to any Sevilla match and you’ll catch a glimpse of a future superstar.
Real Betis, where football is all about joy. ‘Musho Betis,’ as they say. A club which arises passions in Seville, Andalusia and beyond. Betis fans are known to be among the most fervent and ingenious in Spain. This feeling has made its way onto the pitch over the years, and the club have continually boasted some of the most skilful and unpredictable talents in football such as Finidi and Denilson. Today the likes of Joaquin, Canales, Lainez and Emerson follow in those footsteps. Their electric football makes every Real Betis match a true spectacle.
Real Sociedad’s tiki-taka. The Txuri-urdinare a heavyweight of Spanish football and have taken a giant leap forward in recent years. Thanks to an impressive scouting network and Zubieta, their world-renowned youth academy, they play some of the best football in Europe too. Watching La Real play at their refurbished Reale Arena with talented players like Isak, Oyarzabal, David Silva et al leading a host of talented academy graduates is a joy to behold.
The ‘Frogs’ of Levante UD. Levante are known as Los Granotas thanks to the frogs whose croaks could be heard from the Turia river near their original home in the city of Valencia. But they’ve come a long way since those humble beginnings. They played in Europe in 2012/13 and continue to shock even the biggest sides on a regular basis every single season. They’re yet to finish above their city rivals Valencia CF in the LaLiga table, but all things point to Paco Lopez’s side doing so in the very near future. Undoubtedly a club on the rise.
A carnival in every match at the Ramon de Carranza. You can’t understand Cadiz CF without understanding its city and people. And vice-versa. If the world-famous Cadiz carnival is a unique explosion of happiness, that same feeling is expressed week in, week out in support of LaLiga’s ‘other’ Yellow Submarine. Credit must go to the incredible work of coach Alvaro Cervera, who has led the team from the third tier to true ‘giant-killer’ status in LaLiga Santander – beating Real Madrid and Barcelona this season – in just five years.
Las Fallas at Mestalla. Valencia CF are over 100 years old and historically the fourth-most successful club in LaLiga Santander. A club known for its nonconformist, loyal and tireless fans which make Mestalla home to one of the best matchday experiences in world football. And just as in the world-famous Fallas celebrations which take place in the city every year, their style of football is a mix of explosiveness, excitement and unpredictable. An unbeatable combination.
The Red Wall: Fans are the bedrock of football, and nowhere is this clearer than at CA Osasuna. Rojillos fans hold the record for the loudest crowd ever in LaLiga history, registering a roar of over 115 decibels – a sound louder than a jet engine at take-off – during an unforgettable win over Real Madrid back in 2009. With the club’s El Sadar stadium undergoing an impressive renovation voted on by club members and designed not only to bring the stadium up to cutting-edge standards but to also keep even more sound in – creating a ‘Red Wall’ – Osasuna offer without doubt one of the best matchday experiences in European football.
D. Alaves, a ‘glorious’ tradition. There are few fanbases as committed as those at Mendizorrotza, the second-oldest stadium in LaLiga Santander. What’s more, El Glorioso, together with its sister basketball club Saski Baskonia, are the focus of life in the beautiful city of Vitoria. Their run to the unforgettable 2001 UEFA Cup final against Liverpool will live long in the memory of fans around the world. In recent years, the club has been home to many talented players and a springboard for superstars. Look no further than Pacheco, Joselu and Lucas Perez for the current crop of talent.
Nino, a living legend of LaLiga. At the age of 40, the Elche CF striker is the all-time top scorer in the history of LaLiga SmartBank and the player with the most appearances across the top two tiers in LaLiga history. He continues to impress for his beloved club, in a city which boasts World Heritage sites, well into his third decade of football. A club which has also stolen the hearts of the likes of Saul Ñiguez and David De Gea, which in the 1950s was saved when the players formed their own cooperative to run the club, and which plays at a stadium which at one time boasted the biggest pitch in Europe.
The arsenal of the Yellow Submarine: A remarkable club which hails from a town so small that half the population fits into its stadium but which at the same time reaches European semi-finals time and time again. Villarreal boast a world-renowned youth academy and a list of former players which include European Golden Boot winners and bona fide legends of the game like Diego Forlan and Juan Roman Riquelme, but perhaps the most exciting thing about the club is its free-scoring current side. Spain’s number nine Gerard Moreno, pass master Dani Parejo, mazy Nigerian winger Samuel Chukwueze and many more undoubtedly make Villarreal one of the most attractive sides in Spain and beyond.
The hometown heroes of Celta: There’s much to love about Celta. The pride of one of Spain’s most unique regions whose light blue national colours they proudly wear, Los Celestes have European pedigree and play their football just a stone’s throw from the vast, picturesque expanse of the Atlantic Ocean on Spain’s north-western coast. Yet it’s their embrace of their hometown heroes which make Celta so appealing to fans around the world. First team stalwarts such as captain Hugo Mallo, Denis Suarez and Santi Mina were all born in and around the club’s home city of Vigo, but nobody embodies this philosophy more than star striker Iago Aspas, the ‘Magician of Moaña.’ The club legend was born just across the bay from the city and has turned down moves away to commit to his boyhood club time and time again. Now that’s the kind of love that fans around the world can get behind, no matter their club or background.
Real Valladolid, the ideal mix of tradition and future: The perfect embodiment of tradition and future. 45 seasons in the top flight make Valladolid one of the most established top tier outfits in Spanish football history, while the arrival of living legend Ronaldo Nazario as president in 2018 has seen the club look very much to the future. The club’s famously inhospitable Jose Zorilla stadium, the ‘Pneumonia Stadium’, is also one of the toughest away days in LaLiga, guaranteeing even the biggest sides a stiff challenge.
The giant killers of Granada: Granada CF are LaLiga’s giant killers, and with good reason. The club from one of Spain’s most iconic and beautiful cities have defied the odds since promotion to the top tier just two seasons ago to consistently challenge in the top half and qualify for continental competition, reaching the Europa League quarter-finals in their first-ever European adventure. With international stars like Roberto Soldado and Luis Suarez leading an exciting attacking line for breakout coach Diego Martinez, Granada are a must watch for football fans everywhere.
‘Another kind of football is possible’: Hailing from the smallest city to ever be represented in the Spanish top flight, SD Eibar have gone from launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise the necessary funds to compete in LaLiga Santander after promotion in 2014 to establishing themselves as staple of LaLiga Santander in only a few years. The team boast exciting international such as Japan’s Takashi Inui and rising Spanish star Bryan Gil in their ranks while the likes of Xabi Alonso and David Silva have all called the club home in LaLiga in the past. Factor in their Ipurua home nestled deep in the Basque mountains, and you’ve got all the ingredients for one of Europe’s most unique clubs. The idea that “Another kind of football is possible” – the club’s motto – never seemed so real.
SD Huesca, the club that never retreats. Less than ten years ago, they were playing in front of tiny crowds in the third tier. Today, however, thanks to years of hard work and intelligent management the club boast the likes of Premier League champion Shinji Okazaki and rising star striker Rafa Mir. “Always loyal, never retreat,” the club’s motto, fits this city at the feet of the Pyrenees perfectly. Don’t miss their specially designed captain’s armbands which pay tribute to their rivals each week.
A high-flying ‘new boy.’ In recent years, Getafe CF have played in Copa del Rey finals and even in UEFA Cup knockout stages against the likes of Bayern Munich. These achievements are impressive in themselves, but even more so when you consider that the club was only founded in 1983! Six consecutive promotions to rise from the regional ranks saw the club, led by president Angel Torres, reach the elite divisions of Spanish football. Getafe is a city famous as the home of one of the oldest military air bases in Spain; its club’s rise to the very top was meteoric, and they’re now flying high despite being LaLiga Santander’s youngest side.
Having one LaLiga star talent in a family isn’t so common; two (or more) is downright remarkable. Here’s a look at some of the brothers who’ve starred in LaLiga over the years.
Frank and Ronald De Boer
The De Boer twins had an extraordinary career. Both Frank and Ronald were part of the iconic Ajax team of the mid-1990s, winning the Champions League in 1995 before moving together to Barcelona, under their former coach Louis van Gaal, in 1999. They won LaLiga Santander that season but their time together in LaLiga lasted just one year. Ronald moved to Rangers after just a season, while Frank remained a mainstay at the Camp Nou until 2003.
Thiagoand Rafinha Alcântara
Thiago and Rafinha have a famous father in Mazinho, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994. He too played in Spain during his career and both of his sons spent much of their childhood in Spain, each passing through the world-famous La Masia academy on their way to reaching the Barça first team. Both have since moved away from Catalonia, though, with older brother Thiago enjoying success at Liverpool and younger brother Rafinha moving from RC Celta to PSG last summer.
Fernando and Manolo Hierro
Fernando Hierro is one of the most talented and decorated Spanish players in history, having captained both Real Madrid and Spain throughout his exceptional career. Not many football fans will know, however, that his two older brothers also played in the top tier of Spanish football, though of course without his level of success. Antonio Hierro managed a handful of appearances for Málaga, while Manolo Hierro forged a good career for himself in LaLiga Santander playing for Málaga CF, Real Valladolid, Real Betis and CD Tenerife. Both Fernando and Manolo mostly played at centre-back during their careers and even played in defence together at Valladolid during the 1987/88 season.
Diego and Gabriel Milito
Argentine brothers Diego and Gabriel Milito’s footballing relationship was an interesting one from the very start; they came through at rival sides Racing Club de Avellaneda and Independiente, respectively, and made a name for themselves in the late 1990s as two of the most promising young players in Argentine football. In Spain they reunited at Real Zaragoza between 2005 and 2007, both proving to be among the best players in their position in LaLiga (Diego was a centre-forward; Gabriel and centre-back). They later went up against each other again as Gabriel moved to Barcelona in the summer of 2007, while Diego stayed on in Zaragoza for another year before moving to Serie A.
Lucas and Theo Hernández
Lucas and Theo Hernández are the sons of former Atlético Madrid player Jean-François Hernandez and both players came through the Atleti academy, emerging as two of the best defenders to come through the ranks in recent years. In 2017, though, Theo shocked Spanish football with a move across the capital to Real Madrid before he’d ever played a competitive fixture for Atleti’s senior side. Nowadays, he is one of the best Serie A stars playing for AC Milan. Lucas, meanwhile, established himself as one of European football’s best full-backs at Atleti, winning the Europa League in 2018 before moving to Bayern Munich in 2019.
Diego and Hugo Maradona
Most football fans know about Diego Maradona’s up and down spells in LaLiga, first with Barcelona and later with Sevilla. Yet his younger brother Hugo also spent time in Spain, playing for Rayo Vallecano between 1988 and 1990 while brother Diego was at Napoli. Hugo helped Rayo Vallecano earn promotion to LaLiga Santander in the 1988/89 season, scoring six goals along the way, before the team from Vallecas were relegated back down the very next season.
Xabi and Mikel Alonso
Mikel and Xabi Alonso were born to play football and they were born to play for Real Sociedad, the same club their father Periko Alonso played for and coached. Both midfielders, they came through the youth ranks at the same time despite the 18-month age gap between the two; younger brother Xabi was already on the pitch when Mikel made his debut for La Real against Real Valladolid in 2000/01. Mikel’s career never took off in the same way as Xabi’s did, with the younger brother going on to win domestic and European trophies with Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, as well as the World Cup and European Championships with Spain.
Editorial column by Marcos Senna a Villarreal CF player between 2002 and 2013 and won Euro 2008 with Spain. Now he works as director of institutional relations at Villarreal CF, a role he has held since 2016, and he is also a LaLiga Ambassador.
It was April 25th 2006. It was 15 years ago. The events of that night remain clear in my mind. It was the night that we were just two minutes and 12 yards away from defeating a legendary Arsenal side and reaching the final of the Champions League. That was the difference between success and an uncomfortable hangover that lasts for life. Fortunately, football has afforded Villarreal CF the possibility of reaching a new European final. Or, better put, Villarreal CF have earned this opportunity. This is the result of a well-established and sustainable project. That’s the only way to understand how a club from a city of just 50,000 residents has reached its fifth European semi-final of the past 16 seasons. In contrast to teams from big cities like Rome, Manchester, London, Paris or Madrid, the entire population of the city of Vila-Real would fit inside Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, and there would still be 10,000 seats left over! The club’s budget of 117 million euros is smaller than those of all the other ‘superclub’ European semi-finalists. It’s David surrounded by Goliaths.
I remember when I arrived in Vila-Real for the first time in 2002, having come from the giant urban setting of São Paulo. At the time, the club had only been in Spain’s top division for three seasons, making what we achieved during the 11 years I was there all the more incredible. For context, the first time Villarreal CF won promotion to LaLiga Santander level was in 1998 and Gianluigi Buffon was already an international player with Italy. It wasn’t that long ago, but the club has evolved so much that it’s as if 100 years have passed.
Fernando Roig, the club’s president, was a visionary and always had things clear in his mind. That’s how Villarreal CF have become an example of intelligent, responsible and honest management in football. All of the club’s players, including the youth team players, have been surrounded by the best possible professionals to assist with their development. For example, there are pioneering programmes in nutrition and psychology. The financial limitations have been countered with a firm backing of the academy, as seen through the club’s two sporting centres and the residency that was recently opened. They also make up ground through excellent recruitment work. Over the years, quality international players have worn the club’s shirt, such as Forlán, Riquelme, Cazorla, Pires, Reina, Bruno Soriano, Capdevila, Godín, Marchena, Rossi, Soldado and Rodri. Then, looking at the current squad, they have Pau Torres, Chukwueze, Bacca, Gerard Moreno, Albiol, Alcácer, Parejo… All of this is part of a project and footballing ethos that doesn’t falter. Even when the club went down to LaLiga SmartBank in 2012, they bounced straight back up. That’s why there is so much satisfaction with the current achievements. It has been built one training session at a time over the past few years. This is a model club that you can be proud of.
Even though top players like Cazorla, Bruno Soriano or Ekambi departed last year, Villarreal CF are still fighting to reach the Europa League final. They haven’t lost a single match so far in this season’s tournament. At the same time, they’re still battling in LaLiga Santander in the competitive race for fifth place. There’s a need to recognise the efforts of Unai Emery, a winning coach, and of the entire squad. I’m sure that this semi-final tie will be very special for all of them. Against Arsenal, they have an invaluable opportunity to break through the wall and reach a European final for the first time. I think our time has come. It’s time to fight for a title and, I hope, to win one.
In Spain, there is talk of this being a semi-final of revenge because the opposition is Arsenal, the team of 15 years ago. However, this tie actually goes beyond that. It’s an example of how, with good management, the ‘European dream’ is achievable for any modest club that knows how to embrace the beauty and richness of the football we all know and love, even if the club isn’t one of the continent’s most historic or powerful. And remember, David did defeat Goliath…
PETALING JAYA, April 26 — Feeling hungry for a bite of the sea?
You’re not the only one as several homegrown suppliers have popped up in recent years to meet the growing demand for fresh seafood in Malaysia.
Many of these brands also saw a boom during the Covid-19 movement control order with more people opting to do their grocery shopping online instead of going to the wet market in person.
As the seafood supplier market expands, companies need to establish a unique identity as it can get tricky differentiating brands that offer such similar products.
Check out our list of six Malaysian seafood produce sellers to find out what they have in common and how they’re setting themselves apart from the competition.
Art of Salmó and My Fishman
Like many seafood supplier brands, Art of Salmó and My Fishman both feature blue colour palettes and fish illustrations on their logos.
In the midst of this, My Fishman’s logo stands out by highlighting another important aspect of their supply chain: the fisherman.
Art of Salmó also differentiates itself by specialising in one type of fish, the fjord trout, which it imports directly from Norway, while My Fishman offers a variety of seasonal catches sourced from local fishermen.
GL Marine and Long Seng Enterprise
GL Marine and Long Seng Enterprise have similar-looking websites in addition to presenting themselves as one-stop shops for frozen seafood. Both brands also sell processed food in addition to their usual offerings.
In this case, GL Marine sets itself apart by focusing solely on its range of frozen food, which also includes meat, poultry, and lamb.
Meanwhile, Long Seng Enterprise is known for its catalogue consisting of both fresh and frozen food.
Maison Oishi and Senri Malaysia
Whether you’re craving sushi or grilled fish, Maison Oishi and Senri Malaysia have become the go-to seafood supplier when it comes to making Japanese dishes.
Their product offerings are highly similar with both brands also selling a range of Japanese ingredients such as teriyaki sauce, miso paste, and noodles.
The brands’ distinct logos help draw the line between them as Maison Oishi adopts a more modern font, while Senri Malaysia goes down the more traditional route with calligraphy.
In a market where products look near-identical to each other, it’s crucial to create a strong brand identity that resonates with customers.
Henry Goh & Co is the leading intellectual property (IP) firm in Malaysia with strategic expertise in trademark, patent, industrial design, and copyright protection.
Getting brands to stand out from the crowd through IP awareness is one of the firm’s key aims with their clients, local and overseas.
To find out more about Henry Goh & Co and their services, visit their official website.
As reported by: Wayne Cheah Incident Date: 8:30 AM, Tuesday, 27 April 2021 Location: Jalan Perak, George Town, Penang
Earlier this morning, a gargantuan tree along a road collapsed towards a busy road. The tree plummeted right on top of an oncoming Proton Wira, crushing the driver of the vehicle.
As seen in the video below, citizens rushed to the scene in an attempt to recover the driver.
Emergency medical personnel were quick to the scene, however, the tree proved to be too massive and the Bomba was called to the scene in an attempt to cut the tree down into smaller portions in order to remove the driver from the vehicle.
In the aforementioned video, chainsaws can be heard as they attempted to work as quickly as possible to provide aid to the driver. It was reported that recovery works took over 5-6 hours.
Unfortunately, it was reported that the driver of the Proton Wira passed away on scene. The sole casualty is believed to be a male in his 50s.
It seems that due to the torrential weather that the country has been experiencing in the past few weeks, we’re seeing more and more reports of collapsing trees getting involved with motor vehicles.
However, this particular case was allegedly due to the accumulation of continuous road works around the area. As seen in the images, the roots of the tree are particularly short, prompting suggestions that the roots were cut during construction works, causing the tree to be unstable and more prone to tipping, especially during such weather.
Our condolences go out to the families affected by this unfortunate tragedy.
We’d like to urge our readers to stay safe on the roads and to always be aware and alert of your surroundings at all times. Stay safe out there.
See anything interesting? Send us video clips or images of it and get paid up to RM500! Visit www.lokalwav.com to find out more.
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Asean leaders are to be commended for finally being able to do something about the deteriorating situation in Myanmar, one of its member states.
Brunei, this year’s chair, Indonesia, Asean’s primus inter pares, ably supported by Malaysia and Singapore, got all member states to support the chairman’s statement that came out of the Jakarta leaders meeting last Saturday.
It goes to show there can be meaningful Asean action when there is political leadership.
The content of the nine-paragraph statement was laced with the usual Aseanesque of Asean summits, with only the 8th referring directly to the situation in Myanmar, including the five action points of consensus as an attachment to the statement, and the 9th to the need to facilitate the repatriation of displaced persons in Rakhine state as well as the need to address the root causes of the situation there.
It was a good harvest to record also the Rakhine state situation, although the immediate concern of the leaders meeting was the violence and fatalities following the military coup in Myanmar on February 1st and civil action against it.
The “sweetener” of a more general overlay in the statement was proposed by the Brunei chair to get the de facto Myanmar leader to attend. There has been criticism of having General Min Aung Hlaing attend the meeting, but there was really no alternative if the object of the summit is to bring an end to violence in that country. The elephant had to be in the room.
Most of the discussion at the meeting was on the situation in Myanmar, whatever generalities there were in the chairman’s statement. The five-point consensus was clear, specific and succinct: immediate cessation of violence; dialogue for peaceful solution; special envoy of the Asean chair to facilitate the dialogue process; humanitarian assistance; and the special envoy with his delegation are to visit Myanmar to meet all parties concerned.
All are desirable objectives and means to ultimate resolution and immediate end to violence. Of course there is many a slip between cup and lip, and there could be glitches and flare-ups, but the sense coming out of the meeting is that the General is looking for a way out of the hole his military has been digging for him.
Perhaps there should have been something on what would follow non-compliance. However in the exercise of the possible, given that Asean is now actually seized of the matter, it was left implicit.
Nevertheless it is incumbent that the special envoy, assisted by the Asean Secretary General, must not only get moving fast but should also report back to the chair of difficulties and recalcitrance. Asean must do more than just hold a watching brief.
It took some time for Asean to reach this point. Asean could only come out with a chairman’s statement following consultations that took place in early March. While Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have come out with their individual, robust statements, others, like the Thais, had come out to say what was happening in Myanmar were its internal affairs.
Still others were silent. An Asean consensus itself, excluding Myanmar, was hard to form – as if some of the states “suspicious” of intervention were harboring dark acts against their people some time in the future, for which they did not fancy an Asean interest. So it was good to see all agreeing to last Saturday’s Jakarta statement.
Broad as the paragraphs were before the two on Myanmar, apart from two paragraphs on the theme and deliverables of Brunei year as chairman, there were important restatements – reminders not just to Myanmar – of commitments in the Asean Charter to the rule of law, good governance, the principles of democracy and constitutional government, respect for fundamental freedoms, and the promotion and protection of human rights.
There was a reminder too of the need to advance Asean community building, recovery from Covid-19 and to address “pressing issues of common interest to all Asean member states.” The last no doubt referring to the situation in Myanmar but also an opening to involvement in future crises affecting the region.
Passages in the broad paragraphs, further, underlined that Asean centrality depended on unity in engagement with external partners, with China and the U.S. mentioned by name.
The cynic might say there is so much wrong in too many member countries which already are at variance with those commitments under the Asean Charter. While, yes, it is the case, it is not peculiar to Asean and, more importantly, the lead up to involvement in Myanmar means there could be similar “intervention” in other countries when there is violence against and fatalities of their people. There is a limit even as many Asean countries fall short of its own standards.
Now that Asean has done something, it has escaped ignominy. However only a first, albeit all-important, step has been taken. The violence in Myanmar has to stop. Reconciliation has to take place. While stopping the violence is an immediate objective, reconciliation is a medium to long-term process.
What will Asean do if rogue elements of the Tatmadaw (the Myanmar armed forces) went on a rampage? Obviously it cannot do much without any peacekeeping forces on the ground. It is relying on the power, control and honesty of General Min Aung Hlaing. He has to be held accountable.
How deep should the Asean involvement be? It has to rely on good faith which is in short supply in Myanmar.
Reconciliation will take some time. And not just because of what has happened in the recent past since the coup. Can there be a return to the status quo ante? Have fresh elections got to be held? Must the present constitution which gives a special position to the military in the governance of the country be retained?
These issues no doubt are beyond Asean. They are for the people of Myanmar to sort out. Can, and should, Asean facilitation of dialogue between “warring” parties include help in resolving deep and outstanding issues? The word used in the Jakarta chairman’s statement is facilitating “mediation” of dialogue. How deep and how long and how involved are matters not quite clear.
So after a good day’s work, not to mention weeks of preparation, Asean is in a good place, but there is a lot more that lies ahead that needs to be thought through. After this particular statement, and its proposals, Asean leaders cannot all just go home and forget about it – as they have tended to do with many matters in chairman’s statements of the past.
The Myanmar situation requires constant attention and greater involvement if the country is not to fall apart – and Asean severely challenged again.
MADRID, April 22, 2021 — LaLiga met yesterday with the 39 clubs not invited to be part of the European Super League to discuss the recent proposal for this format.
The present clubs at the meeting unanimously and strongly rejected the plans for this competition. All clubs firmly believe in sporting merit as the sole criteria to qualify to international club competitions through domestic leagues.
Today football fans across Europe can dream that their club, no matter the size, may excel, climb to the top and compete at the pinnacle of European football. This European tradition of football for all is paramount and should not be threatened or changed.
Global resistance over the past few days has proven that a closed, elitist league is unviable and unwanted. The reaction proves just how much the open ecosystem and football community means to people.
LaLiga and the clubs gathered today want to thank everyone involved for the support they have shown this week on this significant issue.
LaLiga will continue to work with stakeholders including fan groups, government, UEFA, the RFEF, AFE and European Leagues to protect the best interests of the game and calls on those clubs still involved in the proposed competition to cease their involvement immediately.
Signed by: Athletic Club, CA Osasuna, Cádiz CF, Deportivo Alavés, Elche CF, Getafe CF, Granada CF, Levante UD, RC Celta, Real Betis, Real Sociedad, Real Valladolid CF, SD Eibar, SD Huesca, Sevilla FC, Valencia CF, Villarreal CF; AD Alcorcón, Albacete BP, CD Castellón, CD Leganés, CD Lugo, CD Mirandés, CD Tenerife, CE Sabadell, CF Fuenlabrada, FC Cartagena, Girona FC, Málaga CF, Rayo Vallecano, RCD Espanyol de Barcelona, RCD Mallorca, Real Oviedo, Real Sporting, Real Zaragoza, SD Ponferradina, UD Almería, UD Las Palmas, UD Logroñés.