Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has backed a campaign to ensure Basque club Eibar can play in Spain's top flight next season if they win promotion on the pitch.
Eibar are currently in the second automatic promotion spot in the Segunda Division standings, four points ahead of next-in-line Las Palmas, with just three regular season games to play and another playoff place then to be decided.
However, the well-run small-town club, which unlike many other Segunda outfits has no debts at all, may instead be forced down to the third tier due to recently introduced financial regulations which state the club must raise extra "share capital" of 1.7 million euros by Aug. 6.
A fundraising campaign -- with individual shares available to buy online for 50 euros -- has so far raised just 30 percent of that total, meaning the possibility of earning promotion on the pitch but still being forcibly relegated despite being a model club financially looks quite likely.
Spain international Alonso, who spent half the 2000-01 season on loan from Real Sociedad at Eibar, told a publicity event held in Madrid on Tuesday that the situation did not make sense.
"It is contradictory that a club who has an enviable financial health and with zero debts is obliged to do this, when there are others who have much deeper problems," Alonso said. "I hope we can put in a big push to keep them where they deserve to be."
Eibar club president told Alex Aranzabal told Europa Press that he appreciated the contributions received from inside and outside Spain, but time was running out to raise the money required.
"Eibar has, in these moments, two great challenges to take on," Aranzabal said. "One is on the pitch, one off it. We have 400,000 euros and we must reach 2.1 million euros, the average of the other Segunda budgets which all clubs must reach. For a while people have been talking about Eibar as a model of good sporting and above all financial management. But the clock is ticking now."
Should Eibar not be able to take their place in the Primera Division next season, AS report that Osasuna -- who finished 18th in the 2013-14 campaign -- may get a reprieve from relegation.