Athletic Club to celebrate inaugural Basque non-league day this weekend

With the domestic football season currently on pause for the international break, Athletic Club will this weekend host the first ever Euskal Non-League Day, involving its partner clubs from around The Basque Country. In doing so, Athletic Club become the first LaLiga club to dedicate a weekend to highlighting the importance of grassroots football.

Inspired by the British social movement, which was born in 2010 with the aim of encouraging fans to take advantage of a weekend without top-flight action to encourage attendance at non-professional local grounds, Athletic’s own edition will see eighteen of its affiliated clubs taking part, including a host of teams that have launched the careers of well-known names such as Kepa Arrizabalaga, Aymeric Laporte as well as current Athletic first-team players like Yuri Berchiche, Gorka Guruzeta and Julen Agirrezabala.

Looking ahead to the weekend, Nerea Ortiz, Athletic Club Vice-President, said:

“For Athletic Club, where we only field players born or raised in The Basque Country, our affiliated clubs are of the utmost importance. If Lezama Training Centre is the heart of Athletic’s youth development work, then these partner clubs are the arteries.

“For example, out of the 18 clubs playing at home in this first edition of Euskal Non-League Day, we have found 198 footballers, both male and female, who, in addition to making first-team debuts for Athletic, have also played for one of these 18 clubs. That’s an average of 11 players per club. That’s an extraordinary figure. And let’s not forget, Athletic has 167 partner clubs in total.”

Founder of the British Non-League Day, James Doe, said:

“To see Athletic produce their own version of Non-League Day is a huge honour. To have one of La Liga’s biggest clubs seeing its value adds further validation to all the hard work we’ve done in England since 2010. With their support, we’ll hopefully see some really positive developments for non-league clubs in the Basque region.

“I’d like to thank Athletic for the amazing opportunity to come and be part of this landmark event. Their approach to the day and promotion of it has been excellent and I know it has been noticed here in England. Basque clubs have a rich footballing history so it will be a great privilege to visit some of them and experience all that they have to offer. In short, I’m really excited!”