Domingo’s match

Historian from the MCF Foundation, Domingo Muñoz brings us a ‘non-match’ featuring the now extinct Club Deportivo Málaga.


22/03/2020 20:18

30th March 1980, nearly 40 years ago. On that day, CD Málaga and AD Almería were due to play each other at La Rosaleda…but it never happened. It is, to date, the only match in the history of the League that hasn’t been played.


Málaga played in the First Division in the 79/80 season. From matchday 12, Viberti’s team was in the relegation zone in a league containing 18 teams, with the last three going down. CD Málaga arrived at matchday 25 in 17th place, just 4 points away from 10th position in the standings, welcoming Rayo Vallecano to La Rosaleda.

Málaga-Rayo, which was played on 16th March 1980, had more than one refereeing dispute, with Valencian-born Fandos Hernández officiating. Despite losing 1-3, two dubious penalties not called in favour of Málaga CF and a disallowed Santi goal (40 metres away) enraged the crowd at La Rosaleda, even moving the security barriers in the Preferencia and Tribuna stands.

The scene was of such magnitude that, just after Rayo Vallencano scored their third goal, in minute 86, the referee took advantage of being near the dressing room to signal the end of play and leave the field of play quickly.

Pitch closure

On 20th March 1980, the Competition Committee of the Royal Spanish Football Federation agreed to close La Rosaleda for one match. The news of the stadium closure led to CD Málaga president Federico Brinkmann – and his entire board – all threatening to resign. On 21st March, in an extraordinary meeting, CD Málaga members did not accept the board’s resignation.

Four days later, on the 25th, a telegram sent by the Andalusian Football Federation arrived at the Club’s offices announcing the closure of La Rosaleda for one match. CD Málaga accepted that a telegram was not legally binding, so the match against AD Almería on Sunday 30th March at La Rosaleda at 11.30 could go ahead.

On Wednesday 26th March, the Competition Committee agreed the match should be played on neutral ground, at El Mirador in Algeciras, on Sunday 30th March at 17:00.

Appeal and surprise

The Federation left the door open for the match to be played at La Rosaleda as long as CD Málaga went to the Appeal Committee. On the night of Saturday 29th March, the aforementioned committee dismissed the appeal presented by Málaga to the surprise of everyone. There was no going back. The match would have to be played in Algeciras. However, on the 30th, at 11:30, more than 4,000 people went to La Rosaleda knowing there wasn’t going to be a match.

The Malaguista board of directors, who called an emergency meeting at the stadium through Antonio Domínguez, the then Club secretary, made the following statement:

«The Board of Directors of Club Deportivo Málaga met at La Rosaleda and between 09:00 until 11:30, without any knowledge of the possible agreement reached by the Appeal Committee, it is considered that a judgement cannot be issued and as such the team will not travel to any other pitch».

More telegrams, Sánchez Arminio, a mini-match …

The anecdote of the day occurred when a telegraph delivery appeared at La Rosaleda with a telegram for the board.  CD Málaga reported that the Club’s official headquarters were not at the stadium, but at Prolongación de la Alameda number 47. That telegram would be delivered the following day.

At 12:25, the board and the players (who had been called to the stadium at 10:30) as well as fans left La Rosaleda to cries of Málaga, Málaga! Meanwhile, in Algeciras at 17:00, Agrupación Deportiva Almería walked on to the pitch at El Mirador along with the refereeing trio, with Sánchez Arminio at the helm accompanied by linesmen Sierra and Crespo. After a 30-minute wait, during which Almería played a mini-match on a part of the pitch, Victoriano Sánchez Arminio wrote the minutes reflecting the absence of the Málaga squad.

On 1st April 1980, the Competition Committee ruled a defeat for Málaga for a failure to appear, awarding two points to AD Almería and subtracting three from CD Málaga as a fine. Thus, the end of the only match that was never played in the top flight of Spanish football…for now.

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