Barcelona, Madrid Clasico postponed over Catalonia protests

Real madrid, Barcelona, Camp Nou, The Clasico, Spanish Football Federation, Catalan protests
Real Madrid and Barcelona have to reach an agreement on the new date for the match before 10:00 am (08:00 GMT) on Monday (October 21), if not the REFF will take the decision. Photo: @realmadrid/Twitter

Spain’s biggest football match, The Clasico, between Barcelona and Real Madrid has been postponed due to protests in Catalonia, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced on Friday (October 18).

The two clubs have to reach an agreement on the new date for the match before 10:00 am (08:00 GMT) on Monday (October 21), if not the REFF will take the decision.

The fixture was originally scheduled to take place at Barca’s Camp Nou on October 26.

“FC Barcelona and Real Madrid must agree on the new date of the meeting before October 21,” an RFEF statement read.

“In case of not reaching an agreement, the Competition Committee will be responsible for determining the date of the meeting.”

Two dates, Wednesday, December 18 and Saturday, December 7 are reportedly being considered when other Spanish teams are involved in the Copa del Rey.

The Clasico was set to be Barcelona’s first home game since nine pro-independence leaders were sentenced to imprisonment on Monday for their role in the illegal referendum over Catalan independence in 2017.

Also read: Barcelona and Madrid face testing week amid Clasico uncertainty

The ruling has sparked violent demonstrations across the city and there were fears protestors would use the match against Madrid to stage further acts of unrest.

Barcelona’s football club, which is regarded as a symbol of Catalanism, responded on Monday with a statement insisting “prison sentences are not the solution”.

La Liga then proposed to the RFEF that the venue of the Clasico be changed from Camp Nou to Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu but neither club were keen to accept the switch.

“The RFEF agrees to dismiss the request made by La Liga in relation to reversing the order of the matches played between Barcelona and Real Madrid,” the statement added.

Instead, it has been decided that a change of date is necessary due to what the RFEF described as “exceptional circumstances”.

After the Catalan independence referendum in 2017, Barcelona played a league match against Las Palmas behind closed doors in protest, after their request for a postponement was rejected.

Barca play away at Eibar in La Liga on Saturday and planned to make the 589-kilometre journey by bus to avoid demonstrations at El Prat airport. Real Madrid also play on Saturday, away at Real Mallorca.

(With inputs from agencies)