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Javi Pérez: “Every day is a challenge”

We talk to the head of Málaga CF’s Infrastructure and Maintenance Department, Javi Pérez. “The work my colleagues are doing is brutal”, he says.

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13/05/2020 12:58

Malagueño and Malaguista. Professional, hard-working, humble and easy-going. That’s Francisco Javier Pérez López. Always at the service of the Club to offer solutions, now more than ever, due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Back at last…

We had to implement a series of restrictions and adapt to the safety protocol. From when we walk through the door we are wearing masks and gloves, the disinfection is stringent and meticulous. This situation has caught everyone off-guard, but things are being done and protocol is being followed.

Disinfections are the order of the day

First we disinfected the offices and dressing room, using spray, wearing protective suits, masks, gloves…That was an initial disinfection. Just before training resumed, we carried out another disinfection, and now every week we have to continue doing disinfections.

Tell us how the players access La Rosaleda

From when a player enters, he makes his first stop for hydroalcoholic gel, gloves and mask. Then he gets back in his car and awaits his turn to access the ground as he’s already wearing his training kit. At that moment, the player can take off his mask and step on to the pitch, but when he leaves, he must disinfect again. Upon entering he takes off his trainers and puts on his boots, then his trainers are disinfected. On leaving he passes through another area where he leaves his GPS and boots, which are cleaned and disinfected, and collects his trainers which he then puts back on and which are again disinfected. The player then passes through the exit control point, takes his gel, gloves and mask, returns to his car and departs.

Complying with the health regulations is an obligation

There’s no contact, we can have no contact between them or between us, we have to maintain the two-metre distance as you know. The strict protocol is being followed. It’s rigorous, but it’s the only way forward. Every day is a challenge, as you can never skip the protocol. It’s a baptism of fire. The inspector from LaLiga helps us a lot, he’s always with us. That’s how it has to be.

We’re still in the first stage of a highly complex process

In these early phases, enclosed spaces are not utilised. Right now everything is carried out in open spaces, which is much more bearable. When we start the other phase, that will be another challenge we’ll have to face. We’ll start more of a group session, but it will also be staggered. We’ll have to disinfect the dressing rooms and use all of them within the facilities; there are six in total, so it will become more complicated.

Every detail of cleaning counts

At the moment we’re focused on the outdoors and the cleaning of everything around the player and the equipment used by the coaching team. Every fence, every cone, every ball is disinfected for each player.

The metamorphosis of La Rosaleda draws a lot of attention

The facilities are divided into two parts. There is pitch 1 and pitch 2, as we’ve named them, where a section of the players train alone. They access a marked section of the parking area and do not mix. The players from pitch 1 do not mix with pitch 2.

The working days are a marathon

The last training session should be at 13:30, and the next one at 18:00, but we don’t finish the disinfection until 21:00, when the last session ends. We keep cleaning the gym as we have to leave everything ready for the following day. The truth is we don’t stop. We work in shifts, but there is always cleaning going on. There’s also the work being carried out to treat the pitch, as we’re using it a lot more now.

What a strange situation you’re living every day

There’s more unity. We’re closer, but not close. Because of the safety protocols we need to keep our distance, but we’re together more. We’re attentive to the players. Where the player goes, we follow. We spend more time with them. It’s nice to be back together with your colleagues, there’s a good atmosphere, lots of smiles…It’s special.

Lastly, Javi, tell us about the ‘invisibles’, as Basti calls them, in your department

The players and coaching team are the protagonists, but the work being carried out by the maintenance guys is special, it’s brutal. There are those who are with the first team here, as well as those outside doing a job that we don’t see in here. They are there behind the scenes getting everything ready, then they continue working here. The maintenance team doesn’t stop, they are working at full capacity.

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