Barcelona's La Liga clash against Real Madrid that was scheduled for October 26 at the Camp Nou has been postponed because of protests in the Catalan city:
Tensions have been running high in Barcelona since nine political leaders were imprisoned for their roles in the 2017 independence referendum. A mass rally is scheduled to take place in the city on October 26.
The Telegraph showed how the protests across the region have turned violent:
La Liga requested the match be switched from Barcelona's Camp Nou to the Santiago Bernabeu, but the Catalan giants were opposed to the move, per Marca.
Manager Ernesto Valverde told reporters Thursday he was hopeful the game could be played at the Camp Nou in October as originally intended:
"Under normal circumstances we'd play at home. They're anticipating certain different circumstances and while we know that this week has been out of the ordinary, we are hopeful of playing the game at our ground. That's what we want to do."
However, the Spanish government is against the game going ahead as planned. Alfredo Matilla at AS reported that Sport Council sources said that "it is not sensible to play that game as planned."
La Liga President Javier Tebas told EFE that the match cannot be played December 18 because of Copa del Rey fixtures (h/t AS). La Liga has suggested playing the game on December 7, per AS. For that to happen, Barcelona and Real Madrid would see their La Liga fixtures against Real Mallorca and Espanyol, respectively, brought forward to December 4.
The Spanish league is keen for the match to take place on a weekend instead of a Wednesday because of its high-profile nature, with millions of people around the world set to tune in, per Jose Felix Diaz at Marca.
Yet Barcelona and Real Madrid will have until Monday to decide when they will get to renew their rivalry for the first time this season.
The decision to postpone the match does give the clubs a rare free weekend, which may be welcomed given it comes after a midweek round of UEFA Champions League ties. Real Madrid are in Turkey to play Galatasaray on Tuesday, while Barcelona play Slavia Prague a day later in the Czech Republic.