Barcelona's La Liga match against Las Palmas scheduled for Sunday will be played behind closed doors at the Camp Nou because of the controversial Catalan independence referendum and resulting violence.
Per Indy Football, it was initially reported the game would not be played, although conflicting reports kept emerging. After much confusion and with less than half an hour to go until kick-off, Barcelona announced the match would go on, albeit without fans present:
FC Barcelona @FCBarcelona
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan
Barca VP Carles Vilarrubí has resigned due to decision to play game behind closed doors today.2017-10-1 14:13:06
Tancredi Palmeri @tancredipalmeri
Barcelona president to Barça TV: "It would have costed us 6 points: losing 0-3 + -3. Liga didn't allow us to postpone the game"2017-10-1 14:12:26
Football writer Sid Lowe heard from Barcelona management prior to the decision:
Sid Lowe @sidlowe
Barcelona's sporting direct just walked into Camp Nou. "We don't know anything", he says.2017-10-1 13:14:36
There was also confusion outside the stadium about whether the game had been cancelled or fans would be welcomed, per ESPN FC's Samuel Marsden:
Samuel Marsden @samuelmarsden
Fans still waiting to come in. Security unaware if game is on or off https://t.co/CBuBzEYwu72017-10-1 12:51:53
Catalan officials organised a referendum regarding independence for Sunday, but the central government in Madrid did not recognise the move. Thousands went to vote, but the police tried to prevent locals from doing so, resulting in violence, per Patrick Greenfield of the Guardian.
Barcelona and Las Palmas were scheduled to begin play at 4:15 p.m. local time. Plenty of fans thought it would be better not to go through with the match, and the visitors put a target on their backs with a controversial choice of attire, via football writer Robin Bairner:
Robin Bairner @RBairner
Las Palmas' call to embroider flag of Spain onto shirts today v Barcelona seems like the veritable red rag to a ball. #CatalanReferendum2017-10-1 10:20:38
With reports of multiple injuries in the chaos on the streets, per Greenfield, moving the match to a later date seemed a logical decision. As reported by BBC Sport's James Badcock, the Blaugrana have taken a public stance in support of independence, and many of their players would have perhaps preferred not to suit up on Sunday.
Instead, the Catalans will face Las Palmas without the support of their fans, a decision that may add to the anger in the city.