Barcelona to resist attempt to move Clasico to Madrid
Real Madrid are supposed to meet Barcelona in the Camp Nou on Saturday week
A demonstrator waves a pro-independence Catalan Estelada flag and the Black Flag of Catalonia during a protest against the jailing of Catalan separatistson Wednesday. Photo: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg
Barcelona intend to resist attempts to move the clásico on October 26th from the Camp Nou to the Santiago Bernabéu after the Spanish league proposed the change amid protest and unrest in the Catalan capital. Real Madrid are also reluctant to have the match moved, although they would be open to a postponement.
The decision will be made by the three-man competition committee next week, with an announcement expected on Wednesday, just three days before the game is due to take place.
Nine Catalan separatist leaders were jailed on Monday, handed sentences of between nine and 13 years for their role in an illegal referendum and the failed bid for independence in 2017. That ruling from the Supreme Court sparked protests, with police charges and confrontations across Catalonia. Barcelona’s El Prat airport was blocked, as were some roads. Reports said that more than 50 people have been arrested, while police used rubber and foam bullets.
Barcelona, who have always had a close identification with social and political Catalanism and are often seen as the region’s unofficial “national” team, released a statement immediately after the rulings in which they insisted that prison sentences were not the solution. The match against Madrid would be their first at home since the imprisonments, but they have no plans to postpone or change the fixture. First, they travel to Eibar this Saturday.
The league wrote to the Spanish Federation on Wednesday to ask that the game be switched from the Camp Nou to the Bernabéu to avoid any potential trouble, due to what it described as “exceptional circumstances beyond our control.” A demonstration has been planned on the same day in the city.
The Federation acknowledged receipt of the request and have handed the decision over to the competition committee, which is made up of one representative from the league, one from the federation and one independent member. The committee have passed the information on to the two clubs and given them until Monday to respond. Barcelona are yet to say anything publicly, but they do not welcome the suggestion and nor do they see a need to change where the game is played.
A judgment will be made after both clubs have had the chance to respond and although their arguments will be heard, the decision will not be theirs. - Guardian