Barcelona-Real Madrid: LaLiga considers moving Clásico due to Catalonia unrest
Issues surrounding security and logistics while protests continue in Catalonia after the jailing of pro-independence leaders may see the Clásico played in Madrid.
Ongoing protests in Barcelona and other areas of Catalonia over the jailing of pro-independence political and cultural figures earlier this week has led Spain’s football authorities to consider moving the Clásico between Barcelona and Real Madrid on 26 October from Camp Nou to the Bernabéu.
The Spanish Supreme Court earlier this week sentenced nine Catalan political leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison for their part in a referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence for the northeastern region in 2017, sparking a huge backlash in Catalonia with protestors involved in clashes with police.
Barcelona’s El Prat airport was temporarily closed on Tuesday, grounding more than 100 flights, as protestors waged running battles with riot police in the terminals while others attempted to storm government buildings across the city.
FC Barcelona have already made contingency plans for their game against Eibar this weekend with further protests expected at major transport hubs and now LaLiga officials are considering the possibility of switching this season’s Clásico fixtures around so that the Camp Nou game would be staged on 1 March in Camp Nou.
Pro-independence political parties have called a mass rally in the city on 26 October – the day of the game – prompting Spanish football authorities to consider the measure on security grounds. The generally politically charged Clásico would be the first home game on Barcelona’s schedule following the ruling.
FC Barcelona statement
Barcelona were among the first entities to react to the ruling on Monday, issuing the following statement.
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."
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