COPA DEL REY

Unionistas to play Madrid in Las Pistas with no additional seating

Salamanca's local government said they would not be able to authorise extra seating in the timeframe and the game goes ahead at Las Pistas.

Unionistas to play Madrid in Las Pistas with no additional seating

The controversy is over. Unionistas de Salamanca, Real Madrid's next opponent in the Copa del Rey will be played next Wednesday, January 22 at 21:00 CET in their ground Las Pistas del Helmántico and without additional seating added.

That means 4,000 will be on hand to watch the historic game between the two sides of contrasting stature. The club released a statement on Saturday saying they had prioritised playing the game in their ground from the moment it was announced as they were keen to play where they call home.

In the statement, Unionistas said they presented a document to the Villares local government, where Las Pistas is, on the morning of Friday 17 stating what was required. It said that they needed additional seating added to the stadium with extra floodlights too but the local government responded that night saying it would be impossible to authorise the installation of temporary stands within the timeframe stated.

Las Pistas to the right, Estadio Helmantico to the left.

Aerial view of the grounds. Las Pistas to the right, Estadio Helmantico to the left.

UD Salamanca disappeared on their 90th anniversary and from the ashes rose fan-backed club, Unionistas. The club is entirely democratic and everything from the badge down to the color of the jerseys is decided by a vote -- "one member, one vote". They have a fierce rivalry with Salamanca CF UDS, who play across the park at Estadio Helmantico. 'Las Pistas' means 'The Courts' in Spanish and they absolutely did not want to have to play at their rival's stadium if forced to.

They were keen not to have to play elsewhere and despite the lack of additional seating, it will go ahead in Las Pistas. It's a small victory for the club a few days before the biggest day in their history.