KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The Spanish Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid has been postponed because of the unrest in the Catalan capital after the jailing of independence-seeking politicians.
The match should have been staged in Camp Nou next Saturday (October 26) but the clubs have been asked by the federation’s competitions committee to agree a new date by Monday morning. If they cannot agree then the committee will set a date.
A later statement from Real Madrid said the clubs had agreed on December 18.
An initial proposal from LaLiga to reverse the schedule and play first at the Estadio Bernabeu and then at Camp Nou was rejected. Neither club was in favour of that solution. The scheduled return in Madrid is set for March.
Nine Catalan separatist leaders were jailed for between nine and 13 years on Monday for their roles in an illegal referendum and subsequent failed independence bid, sparking mass protests and clashes between demonstrators and riot police across the region.
On Monday, Barca released a statement titled “Prison is not the solution” condemning the sentences, while Manchester City’s Spanish coach, Pep Guardiola, also spoke out against the jail terms in a video that was released on social media by the group Tsunami Democratic.
The Spanish league has revived the attempt to stage a match in the United States with LaLiga submitting a formal request to the Spanish federation
If approved Villarreal would play Atletico Madrid on December 6 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, the home of the National Football League’s Dolphins franchise.
The fixture will serve as a home game for Villarreal, whose season ticket holders will have a range of compensation options given that the match will be played away from the Estadio de la Ceramica.
Supporters would have the right to choose between a 40pc discount for their next season ticket, a ticket for the return fixture at the Wanda Metropolitano, or travel to Miami to watch the game live, although that offer is limited to 600 fans.
LaLiga said in an official statement that the players and coaches of both teams ‘have shown their enthusiasm’ for playing the game in the US, also citing the ‘interest and willingness’ of Villarreal and Atletico as the reason for choosing the two clubs.
The match would be the first of LaLiga’s 15-year partnership with Relevent Sports, the US sports and entertainment company backed by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
LaLiga had tried to take a game between Barcelona and Girona to Miami in January but ultimately had to shelve the plans after failing to secure the backing of the RFEF and world federation FIFA.