Thursday, 17 October 2019

El Clasico: La Liga ask for Barcelona vs Real Madrid game to be moved to the Bernabeu due to unrest.

La Liga has asked for El Clasico on 26 October to be switched from Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium to Real Madrid's Bernabeu following days of protest in Barcelona after nine Catalan separatist leaders were jailed on Monday.

More protests are expected in the city on the day of the match and La Liga said the request comes due to "exceptional circumstances beyond our control". The nine separatists were convicted of sedition over their role in the referendum and handed jail sentences of between nine and 13 years by Spain's Supreme Court.

La Liga made the request to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), and both clubs will be asked for their opinion. But BBC Sport understands Barcelona will refuse the request as the club feel the switch is unnecessary.

The RFEF competitions committee is expected to make its decision by Thursday 24 October. Barcelona and Real Madrid were not involved in La Liga's initial request and there has been no official response from either club.

It means the fixture scheduled for March will now take place in Barcelona. The Catalan Football Federation suspended all matches in the region on Monday, although that ruling does not affect La Liga matches or the Spanish national team.

Catalonia is a semi-autonomous region in north-east Spain and in a referendum on 1 October 2017, declared illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court, about 90% of Catalan votes cast backed independence. Turnout was 43%.