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UD Levante goalkeeper called up for polling duty, but chairwoman lets him off
By thinkSPAIN Team Fri, Nov 8, 2019
WITH the general elections due on Sunday, hundreds of thousands of Spanish nationals will have been summoned for polling duty, meaning they have to spend all day monitoring the ballot box and ticking off names.
They get paid for it, but cannot get out of it unless they have one of a limited number of reasons that they can provide proof of, such as a booked holiday, their own or a family wedding, illness or disability – in the same way as jury service and much like both types of public duty in almost every western nation.
Not even professional footballers are exempt – as UD Levante found out when two of its players were called up, meaning they would miss Sunday's match against Athletic de Bilbao.
UD Levante filed an appeal to gain special dispensation for goalkeeper Aitor Fernández and right back Jorge Miramón, and the latter was accepted.
But Aitor has been summoned as stand-in for the chairwoman of the voting table at the polling station in his native town of Mondragón (Guipúzcoa province, of which the capital is San Sebastián), so there is no way he can be freed from his duty.
Although the match is still set to go ahead in Bilbao's San Mamés stadium, because the chairwoman herself, Begoña Balanzategi, says Aitor would only have to stand in if she could not make it and there is no chance she will not be there.
“Unless something life-threatening happens – which of course, I won't get much of a say in – I'm definitely going to be there at 08.00 on Sunday,” she assures.
“So, in that sense, you can all rest super-easy. You can tell Aitor that from my point of view, there's no problem – I'll be there at 08.00 come what may.
“I've been called up before and this is the second time I've been chairwoman, so you can tell him to relax.”
She was interviewed by the sports magazine Superdeporte, meaning her confirmation she will not stand in the way of the UD Levante-Athletic de Bilbao match is recorded in black and white.
Begoña admits she is not hugely into football herself, but she is an armchair supporter – of Athletic's biggest rival.
“If I support anyone it's Real Sociedad, like any Guipúzcoa person worth their salt,” she admits.
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