Football News

El Clasico: Barcelona and Real Madrid oppose fixture change amid political strife

By Chris Smith

Published: 17:59, 16 October 2019

Barcelona are set to resist La Liga’s efforts to move the upcoming El Clasico clash with Real Madrid to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, according to reports.

The Catalan region is currently engulfed in political strife, with nine separatist leaders being handed jail sentences of between nine and 13 years for their part in 2017’s failed independence bid and an “illegal” referendum.

Will El Clasico be moved? Five things to know…

  • Barcelona are due to host Real Madrid on October 26.
  • But there is ongoing political strife in the Catalan region.
  • La Liga has asked RFER for permission to host the match in Madrid.
  • If allowed, the return fixture in March would be held at the Nou Camp.
  • But both clubs are thought to be strongly opposed to the idea.

That Supreme Court ruling has sparked further protests in the area, resulting in a number of clashes with police across the region.

October 26th’s El Clasico meeting with arch-rivals Real Madrid is set to be Barcelona’s first home match since the latest incident, with Ernesto Valverde’s men travelling to Eibar and Slavia Prague in the meantime.

But it was revealed that La Liga had sent a request to the Spanish Football Federation (RFER) to allow the match to be moved to the Bernabeu instead to avoid further friction.

“We have requested the competitions committee of the Spanish Football Federation to meet and change the location of El Clásico to Madrid because of exceptional circumstances beyond our control,” a La Liga spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.

FC Barcelona are a massive symbol for the Catalan people and are often viewed as the region’s unofficial national team.

The club shocked the world by releasing a statement after the rulings, condemning the verdict and calling for “dialogue and negotiation”.

It read: “FC Barcelona, as one of the leading entities in Catalonia, and in accordance with its historical record, for the defence of freedom of expression and the right to decide, today, after the condemnatory ruling issued by the Supreme Court in relation to the open process against the Catalan civic and political leaders, states that:

“In the same way that the preventive prison sentence didn’t help to resolve the conflict, neither will the prison sentence given today, because prison is not the solution.

“The resolution of the conflict in Catalonia must come exclusively from political dialogue.

“Therefore, now more than ever, the club asks all political leaders to lead a process of dialogue and negotiation to resolve this conflict, which should also allow for the release of convicted civic and political leaders.

“FC Barcelona also expresses all its support and solidarity to the families of those who are deprived of their freedom.”

Centre-back and vice-captain Gerard Pique took to Twitter shortly afterwards in a show of solidarity with his club.

If the game were to be moved, the return fixture on March 1 would have to be played at the Nou Camp.

However, according to the Guardian, Barcelona are strongly opposed to the idea of moving the fixture and, in fact, see no real need to do so in the first place – CNN believe that Real Madrid are also strongly opposed to the idea.

The Spanish Federation has acknowledged the league’s request and passed the information on to the two clubs, who now have until Monday to respond.

A final decision is expected to be made on Wednesday, although that will only leave three days for arrangements to be made in the unlikely event that the fixture is moved to Madrid.

The two clubs are yet to make a public response to La Liga’s request.

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