The historical reason why the Federation takes away a Copa del Rey from Athletic

Athletic is once again Cup champion. The competition of which it was king for many years had been waiting for it for 40 years. The Bilbao team has counted 25 Copas del Rey since last Saturday, but the RFEF does not think the same, for them there are 24. The trophy won on penalties against Mallorca is already in the Biscayan capital but the controversy over the winners continues.

A controversy that lives from afar and which Muniain revealed yesterday in an image that soon went viral. The red-and-white captain, who came out in extra time and scored one of the penalties that gave him the victory, erased with spray the sign of the team bus on which the number 24 appeared to draw the 25 on top. A gesture that he already made in in 2021, also in Seville, number 3 in the Super Cups.

But What is the origin of this controversy? Athletic has 24 officially recognized Cups and claims as such the one from 1902, the Coronation Cup on the occasion of the splendor of the Coronation of Alfonso XIII.

Athletic is the second most successful team in the competition, surpassed by FC Barcelona in 2009, which has 31. However, it is the club that has played in the most finals, and the winner of the precursor to the Copa del Rey. But, the Coronation Cup is the great disagreement between the club and the RFEF.

In the same way that FC Barcelona claims the 1937 League, the people of Bilbao claim the 1902 cup. And the first Cup was the most disputed of all. In fact, even today, it continues to be disputed, because Athletic, which keeps in its showcases, like gold in cloth, that Coronation Cup that it won in Madrid, still does not have the Federation consider that first cup trophy, in their list of champions of the Spanish championship. The coming of age of King Alfonso XIII was celebrated on those dates and, among other activities, a football contest was organized.

Several teams were invited, but five showed up. The mess arose in the Biscayan capital because the two teams that were in the town at that time – Athletic and Bilbao – could not agree to go together or separately. They decided to unify their two teams and came with a fusion of them that competed under the name “Vizcaya”.

They were the architects of the first red-and-white title that is still in question… At least for the RFEF, because Athletic includes it in its record and even UEFA gave it as valid on its website when publishing Athletic's history.

The Coronation Cup

It was the month of May 1902. The president of Madrid FC, Juan Padrós, then thought that it could very well be included in the royal program on the occasion of the Coronation of Alfonso XIII, a football tournament in which all legally constituted teams would take part, and that would have something to say in what was called, in those years, so “extravagant sport.” This invitation, sent on April 18 through Madrid FC, was addressed to Enrique Goiri, vice president of Athletic Club, who began working on the possibility of attending the Madrid tournament. After great efforts, it was decided to send to Madrid as a representative of Bilbao football, Bizkaya, a team formed for big occasions by members of Athletic Club and Bilbao F. C, and which had debuted just two months before.

In total, five clubs were registered, representing the cities where the new sport was most deeply rooted: Madrid Foot ball and New Foot ball, both from the Town and Court of Madrid, Barcelona and Español, both from Barcelona. , and the Vizkaya team sent from Bilbao.

Once the draw was verified, it indicated the first match for May 13: Vizkaya against Español. He defeated and eliminated Español by a resounding score of five to one. That same morning, Barcelona eliminated Madrid by three goals to one.

Twenty-four hours later the other Madrid team made its appearance. Vizkaya, who presented a similar formation, only changed Enrique Goiri for Ramón Silva, both from Athletic, had no opponent and won by a large result of eight to one.

And on the day of San Isidro, May 15, 1902, sand played the first final of the Spanish Championship. For Barcelona – a combination of Barcelona and Hispania -, the great favorite, participated: Morris S., Famires, Meyer, Morris J., Wity, Valdes, Parsons, Gamper, Steimberg, Albeniz and Morris E. For Vizkaya: Luis Arana (Bilbao FC), Careaga (Bilbao FC), Larrañaga (Athletic Club), Luis Silva (Athletic Club), Amado Arana (Athletic Club), Goiri (Athletic Club), Cazeaux (Athletic Club), Astorquia (Athletic Club) , Dyer (Bilbao FC), Ramón Silva (Athletic Club) and Evans (Bilbao FC).

The Basques won 2-1 and achieved their first cup title. A title that still has not been recognized by the RFEF.