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Why is Real Madrid-Athletic Bilbao postponed and when can it be played?

Real Madrid's match against Athletic Bilbao has been postponed this weekend, as has the meeting of Granada and Atlético Madrid.

Why is Real Madrid-Athletic Bilbao postponed and when can it be played?

LaLiga has postponed the matchday 9 clash between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao that was scheduled to be played this weekend, 16-17 October. The meeting of Granada and Atlético Madrid has also been postponed.

Real Madrid and Atlético’s request for the postponement of their respective games this weekend was granted by the Spanish Superior Sports Council (CSD), on the basis that their South American internationals would not be available due to CONMEBOL’s decision to extend this latest round of international fixtures to three games.

All 10 CONMEBOL countries played their third and final World Cup qualifier of this latest international break on Thursday, meaning that a host of South American players would not be back in time for the weekend.

Had Real Madrid’s game against Athletic gone ahead, Los Blancos would have been without Brazilian pair Vinicius and Eder Militao (although Militao is now injured and would not have been available anyway), and Fede Valvere of Uruguay, who lost 4-1 to Brazil on Thursday.

"In light of previous considerations, and using the attributes which are legally conferred on me I have resolved to grant the injunction requested by [La Liga president] Javier Tebas Medrano Lopez, representing the National Professional Football League (La Liga)," CSD president Jose Manuel Franco Pardo said in a statement on Wednesday.

Two fixtures, Sevilla-Barcelona and Villarreal-Alavés, which were scheduled to be played immediately after the international break in September were also postponed for the same reason.

When could Real Madrid-Athletic be played?

The question now is when the postponed game can be played. Ideally, with postponed matches in the first round of 19 games, they should be played before the end of that round. Going on that premise, there are a couple of possible dates available.

One is 15 December, when the second round fixtures of the Copa del Rey will be played. Madrid and Athletic are exempt from that round due to their participation in the Spanish Super Cup in January.

The other free date is 22 December. The last matchday before the Christmas break is set for the weekend of 18-19 December, but a collective agreement allows for matches to be held until the 22nd. But that date poses one problem, as it could significantly reduce the Real and Athletic players' Christmas holiday period.

LaLiga is already contemplating bringing several games scheduled for Sunday 2 January forward to Friday 31 December, on the condition that there is geographical proximity between the teams involved. Among the matches likely to be brought forward are Getafe-Real Madrid and Osasuna-Athletic.

What is Real Madrid's next game in the league?

Real Madrid's next game in the league will be the Clásico against Barcelona on Sunday, 24 October at Camp Nou. It will be the first of at least three Clásicos this season as the pair will also meet in January in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup. But before the Clásico, Los Blancos travel to Kiev to face Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday.


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