Castelldefels - Els Canyars

Founded in 1948, Unió Esportiva Castelldefels is a small club who for the first 50 years or so, plied their trade in the regional leagues of Catalunya, reaching the Tercera for the first time in 2002. Then in the summer of 2007 they found themselves embroiled in a bitter dispute that eventually saw the Spanish Football Federation intervene and take guidance from an earlier ruling from the Court of Arbitration in Sport. All in little Castelldefels, what is the world coming to?
Success Guaranteed? Don't bet on it
Before I enlighten you on that particularly messy affair, let me give you a bit of background. Castelldefels finally reached the Primera Catalana (Level 5) in 1999-00, during which time they were playing at Campo Municipal Via Ferria. It is still a sports facility today, close to the Olympic rowing lake and features a small stand and artificial pitch. In December 2001 the club moved to the newly built Els Canyars in the north of the town and at the end of the season were celebrating promotion the Tercera for the first time. Five seasons of steady mid-table football followed, before the club and the municipality decided to link up with a certain Enric Flix and his sports betting company
Via Ferria - Home until 2001
In June 2006, Flix bought a controlling interest in UE Figueres, a club from the neighbouring province of Girona. They had played in La Segunda in the 1990's but were now plodding along with low to mid-table finishes in Segunda 2b. Señor Flix clearly felt that if UE Figueres were to go anywhere, he needed to give them a helping hand... all the way south to Castelldefels. Initially, the Spanish federation blocked the move, but had to back down when the example of Granada 74's purchase of Ciudad Murcia, which they had ratified a month earlier, was cited. So, just like that, nearly 90 years of football history in Figueres was jettisoned and their place in the league taken over by the nattily named Unió Esportiva Miapuesta Castelldefels. What could possibly go wrong?
 Els Canyars - Why all the fuss?
The existing outfit in Castelldefels who had finished the previous season in twelfth position in the Tercera took on the mantle of reserve team to the newly formed first team and with all the pieces in place, all the club needed to do was have a successful 2007-08 season on the field. Curses! There was something that Señor Flix had overlooked, the teams were just not good enough to stay in their respective divisions, let alone push for promotion. As the season progressed, two very separate factions developed within the club, those that still viewed the reserve side as the true UE Castelldefels and those that followed the new club in the higher league. With relegation confirmed and Flix's master plan crumbling around him, he upped sticks again and moved the first team to the town of Vilajuïga, ironically only 10 miles north east of Figueres. UE Vilajuïga, as they were now known, lasted a season in the Tercera, finishing one from bottom before Señor Flix got bored, cut his losses and the club went out of business. Back in Castelldefels the former reserves were now the first team, if you follow, and made short work of the Primera Catalunya, winning promotion back to the Tercera for the 2009-10 season. Here they remain, thankfully left to their own devices.
Such a complicated story for such a simple stadium
El Canyars, which means Reed Beds, is a simple enclosure which has a short 200-seater stand on the south side of the ground and mixture of hard-standing and steps around the other sides. Looking at the ground, it makes you wonder what all the fuss was about. All in all, it's a salutary tale about greed and above all a bloody mess that left all concerned worse off, none more so than UE Figueres who had to reform and start at the bottom of the pile in the Catalunya regional leagues. Still it's nice to see that the bookie lost some money!

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