Homeless elderly Spanish woman saved by football club

Carmen Martínez Ayudo cries during her eviction in Madrid, Spain. Photograph: Andres Kudacki/AP

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Woman evicted at 85 after her son loses house to debt is helped by football club

Rayo Vallecano vows to pay Carmen Martínez Ayudo’s rent for the rest of her life after she is turfed out by police in Madrid

By Stephen Burgen in Spain

Sunday 23 November 2014 16.46 GMT

A football club has vowed to pay the rent for an 85-year-old woman evicted from her home because her son could not pay his debts.

Carmen Martínez Ayudo was driven from her home after her son had used it as security for a €40,000 loan from an individual.

Ayudo, from Vallecas – a working-class area of Madrid, Spain – was later told the local football club Rayo Vallecano would pay her rent for the rest of her life. She said: “I’ve no more tears to cry.”

Ayudo’s plight came after ownership of the home was transferred to her son following the death of her husband. Ayudo knew nothing of the debt, which now stands at €70,000, or the eviction until police arrived to remove her from the property a month ago.

A local anti-eviction committee managed to win her a brief reprieve, during which she says she was terrified and unable to sleep. On Friday, seven police vans arrived for the eviction.

Ayudo, who worked as a cleaner, said: “I’ve worked all my life, getting up at 6am to work like a slave and then all of a sudden they come to take everything away when all I want is to be left in peace.”

“We’re not going to stand around and do nothing, we’re going to help this woman,” said Paco Jémez, the coach at Rayo, currently 13th in the Spanish first division. “Not just me but the technical team and the players. We’ll give her a hand to find a place where she can live in dignity and not feel abandoned.”

Jémez added that he would like to help more people but it wasn’t possible. “In this case, because she’s from the neighbourhood, as a club we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to help.”

There were 67,000 evictions in Spain in 2013 while an estimated 3.4m properties stand empty.

This football club, contrary to some other clubs, seems to be a club not totally ruled by Big Money. In 2012, according to Wikipedia, the squad decided to take a day off from training to join anti-governmental austerity demonstrations.

British football magazine When Saturday Comes writes about Rayo Vallecano:

Rayo Vallecano, the La Liga outfit from Vallecas, a working class neighbourhood in Madrid, announced earlier this week they would be joining the millions of Spaniards taking part in the strike. The club’s fans are famous for their left-wing principles. Republican flags and Che Guevara banners are a common sight on matchdays in Vallecas, where fans are as likely to sing derogatory chants about the government as they are about the opposition.

Now the players have aligned themselves with the views of the majority of their supporters by refusing to train today.

This 23 November 2014 video from Spain is about Rayo Vallecano’s 1-0 victory against Celta de Vigo.

‘During the decades of Franco‘s regime, Vallecas earned its reputation as a neighbourhood of resistance to right-wing dictatorship’. Wikipedia writes.


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