The precariousness of the women’s basketball elite in Barcelona: “If they were men, it would be resolved”

The best basketball players in Barcelona should think twice before shooting a triple. “We have to be very careful from where we shoot in the tent where we train. You have to calculate the shot well because, if not, the ball hits the ceiling”, explains Vanesa Verbo, captain of Lima Horta Barcelona, ​​which is part of the Challenge League, equivalent to the second national division. Barça, associated with Santfeliuenc, travels to Sant Feliu de Llobregat to play in the first-class championship, so there is no team in the Catalan capital as advanced as Lima. Despite chaining eight seasons without descending, the merits have not been enough for him to escape from some poor courts that, in addition, transgress the requirements to stay at the top.

“It is unthinkable that the same thing would happen with a men’s team of the same level. If they were men, I would be resolved&rdquor ;, thinks the president of Lima, Jordi Faus. The insufficiencies weigh down both the venue where the squad exercises three days a week -a marquee at the Horta Velodrome- and the pavilion where they prepare the day before the matches and face rivals, within the Virolai school , in Carmel. “Our women’s and men’s teams are spread over four facilities, two municipal and two private. None fit the Challenge League requirements. Y we are in the pavilion of a private concerted school due to the lack of municipal facilities& rdquor ;, says the manager.

Lima Horta’s difficulties are reminiscent of the misadventures of another powerful women’s squad, Futsal Eixample. Months ago, he was forced to travel to Barcelona to try to find a shelter according to the demands of the silver division and put an end to a grotesque pilgrimage, which forced the players to alternate four tracks during the week, never in the district that gives the entity its name. They ended up welcomed in the pavilion of the National Institute of Physical Education of Catalonia, in Montjuïc, after encountering the refusal of 18 already full public sports centers. To a large extent, they were filled by men’s teams of lesser category.

Missing “obvious & rdquor; of pavilions

“It would be necessary to study who occupies these facilities and how the hours are distributed. We are not asking to favor some to the detriment of others, but there are teams and athletes who reach milestones to be taken into account”, postulates Faus. In the absence of a project to build a pavilion in Horta-Guinardó, Lima calls on the Barcelona City Council to facilitate at least the transfer of the entity to a suitable space. “There are alternatives in the city so that our first women’s team can train and play in conditions & rdquor ;, defends the president.

The Councilor for Sports, David Escudé, admits that there is a “obvious problem” in Barcelona due to the small number of facilities “compared to sports practice & rdquor; that takes place in the city. For Escudé, the scarcity affects male and female groups of all modalities equally.

As for whether a suitable location is being sought for the Lima Horta players, the council eludes the answer and limits itself to telling EL PERIÓDICO that “it is difficult to meet the requirements” of the Basketball Federation, to which the playing area at the service of the club does not adhere. “They are not compatible with the practice of other sports and with the versatility of the city’s pavilions”apostille.

ERC has questioned the local government about the entity’s case. “City Hall gives gold medals to Alexia Putellas and Laia Palau, but is unable to find equipment for a women’s team of the second division that must go with one hand in front and the other behind”, criticizes the Republican councilor Elisenda Alamany. Escudé points out that the club has received a subsidy of 70,000 euros and that material acquisitions are being processed to adapt to some of the federative requirements.

Risk of falls

Verbo defoliates the cries of the athletes of Lima. “Where we train, if you step in the corner you can touch the wall, because there is almost no space. And, a few days ago, we couldn’t train, because the track was slippery due to the humidity. It was horrible. Besides, it does not have the regulatory measures. The field of any other team in our category seems enormous to us, because we do not train in the same conditions& rdquor ;, notes the captain.

“We hardly ever set foot on the field where we play,” continues Verbo. When there’s a party many times we do not have a free track an hour before the start to warm up in conditions. The opposing teams usually arrive an hour and a half earlier, which is what they are used to. We already know it and we prepare maybe 20 minutes before starting”. The captain does not conceive that an identical anomaly would last so long in the event that an elite male workforce suffered from it. “I would have changed a long time ago, of course & rdquor ;, she thinks.

The threat of relegation

Faus fears the consequences of an inspection by the Spanish Basketball Federation. The club is exposed to being reprimanded because the track where it competes does not meet all the requirements to “promote the competition and equate it with the male & rdquor ;, says the president. “The pavement does not meet what is required; They ask us for at least 800 locations but we have between 200 and 300; the 24-second timers must be hung above the board, but they are on the ground, and the baskets are hung, when they have to be standing & rdquor ;, he lists.

The manager ensures that the federation stopped all investigation last year as a result of a letter from the consistory, in which he begged for an exception for a season “while a medium-term solution was sought & rdquor ;, he adds. “The obligations have increased and we are not aware that the city council has submitted the request again & rdquor ;, Faus declares.

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If a file is opened, Lima can face an economic sanction. In the event that the infractions persist without being corrected, the next corrective would be an express prohibition for the institution to continue in the same pavilion. In the worst case, it could culminate in a administrative demotionwarns the president. “As long as the federation does not press the red button, we are gaining time, but without seeking a solution. It is incoherent to want to promote women’s sport and accommodate commitments that are not fulfilled& rdquor ;, he clinches.

The precariousness that Lima endures has dissuaded some other player to join the club. “It conditions a lot not to train on a track with normal dimensions – Verbo maintains -. We get good results and expect a change every year, but we stay the same, without being able to train on a court where the knees do not suffer because the ground has bumps and the ball does not bounce well. It’s frustrating & rdquor ;.

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The precariousness of the women’s basketball elite in Barcelona: “If they were men, it would be resolved”