The local council in Marbella is currently in negotiations with the concession holders of the town’s central bullring to end their contract and take over the direct running of the space. It will then be used for concerts and other cultural events, but not bullfights.
The current holders of the contract to run the main bullring have seen how interest in their fights has declined and recently the ruling coalition on the council banned their promotion on the local television station. Few important fights have been held there in recent years and in August 2015 anti-bullfighting protesters invaded the arena during a fight causing confrontations between fans and opponents that had to be settled in court.
The contract holders, El Toreo S.L, have asked for the local authority to provide a subsidy to keep organising their fights. However, the PSOE-led council, which is in coalition with IUand the local Podemos parties, both of which are against bullfighting, has declined to help financially.
The council is now studying how to cancel the ElToreo S.L. agreement and wants to take over the running of the arena itself for a range of cultural events. The change of use is in turn expected to “modernise the bullring and increase its value”.
Mayor of Marbella, José Bernal, however pointed out this week that the council was not actually banning bullfighting in the town. Rather, he said, it was stopping organising them due to lack of support. If anyone wanted to organise a fight, there was always the alternative bullring in nearby Puerto Banús, he clarified.
The Puerto Banús venue last held a fight in 2000, has been in disuse since 2010 and failed a fire and safety test last year.