Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Clasico Could Change Locations over Catalonia Unrest

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2019

Protesters walk on the AP-7 highway near Girona, on October 16, 2019, a day after police arrested 51 people across Catalonia overnight after violent protests over the jailing of nine separatist leaders for their role in a failed 2017 independence bid. (Photo by Pau Barrena / AFP) (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)
PAU BARRENA/Getty Images

La Liga has asked Barcelona and Real Madrid if they can move October 26th's Clasico from the Camp Nou to the Santiago Bernabeu amid protests in Catalonia.

Per Goal's Ignasi Oliva Gispert, La Liga has formally asked the two clubs to reverse the fixture because of security concerns in relation to ongoing protests and a mass rally in Barcelona that has been called by pro-independence parties on October 26, the day of Real's scheduled visit.

According to AS' Alfredo Matilla and Javier G. Matallanas, La Liga's request comes after Spanish authorities jailed nine pro-independence leaders for their part in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum, with their sentences ranging from nine to 13 years in prison.

Protestors have clashed with riot police and 100 flights were grounded when the city's airport, El Prat, had to be temporarily closed on Tuesday as a result, and protesters have also attempted to storm government buildings across Barcelona.

Following the sentencing, the club offered solidarity with those convicted and called for their release:

BBC Sport's Simon Stone shared La Liga's statement on their request to move the fixture in light of the situation:

Per Gispert, a statement from Royal Spanish Football Federation confirmed their Competition Committee had relayed La Liga's request to the two clubs, who have until Monday to respond.

The Spanish top flight will then make a decision on the matter once they have done so.

Football journalist Richard Buxton can see the logic of La Liga's solution to a difficult situation, but he suggested Real are opposed to the idea:

Reporter and broadcaster Lee Roden offered a reason why Barca might not be open to it:

Barcelona travel to Eibar on Saturday before facing Slavia Prague in the Champions League in the Czech Republic next Wednesday.

As things stand, El Clasico will be Real's third away match in succession after trips to Real Mallorca and Galatasaray.

Real are two points clear of Barcelona in La Liga after eight matches. If both sides beat Eibar and Mallorca, El Clasico could give Los Blancos a chance to open up a more sizeable gap on Barca or allow Barca to leapfrog them into top spot.

Moving it to the Bernabeu would favour Real, so such a decision could have a significant impact on the title race.

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