Real Madrid and Barcelona have both rejected La Liga’s proposal to switch the venue of the first classico of the season to the Santiago Bernabeu
Rising political unrest in Catalonia had earlier given rise to the possibility of the upcoming El Classico being played in Madrid rather than in Barcelona in less than two weeks time. The Spanish supreme court sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to lengthy prison sentences on Monday for their involvement in the Catalan independence referendum of 2017 leading to massive protests across the region.
There were reports of a high profile demonstration in the city of Barcelona coinciding with the classico date and the general belief was that the travelling Real Madrid camp would be a target of both abuse and violence. Shifting the venues of the classico for the ongoing season seemed to be in the best interests of everyone especially with Los Blancos aware of the potential security risks that came along.
The request from La Liga came out of the blue on Wednesday morning after reports of disturbing fires breaking out in the region broke out in the news. “We have requested the competitions committee of the RFEF to meet and change the location of El Clasico to Madrid because of exceptional circumstances beyond our control,” La Liga’s statement on Wednesday read.
Barcelona are of the opinion that the match must be played at the Camp Nou despite the protests. Madrid, on the other hand, want the fixture schedule to be adhered to in the interest of maintaining the integrity of the competition and would rather see the match postponed instead of moved to their stadium. The clubs have until Monday to present their cases but they will not be the ones with the final verdict.
The final outcome will be decided by the RFEF, LaLiga and an independent adjudicator with the clubs having next to no say. The respective entities will be represented by Carmen Perez (RFEF), Pablo Mayor (LaLiga) and Lucas Osorio (Independent), in the voting terms. 33 percent of this voting process seems to be completed in all likelihood with LaLiga having made the request to the Spanish Federation in the first place.
A possible postponement would lead to the match being played on a midweek date which would leave television companies far from pleased, given the impact of the fixture as compared to other matches in the competition. The final decision on the Classico will be made on Tuesday October 22, four days prior to the match although there still remains a chance that the verdict might come along sooner.