Spain: La Liga calls for upcoming Clásico to be moved from Barcelona to Madrid

Wed 16 Oct 2019

La Liga has asked that this month’s Clásico between Barcelona and Real Madrid be moved to the capital amid growing protests in Catalonia.

Nine Catalan separatist leaders were jailed for between nine and 13 years on Monday over their roles in the failed push for regional independence two years ago, sparking protests and clashes across the region. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia.

The match is due to take place on 26 October at Barça’s Camp Nou stadium. But La Liga has asked the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to reverse the fixture. The second meeting of the season is due to take place in Madrid in March.

“We have requested the competitions committee of the RFEF to meet and change the location of El Clásico to Madrid because of exceptional circumstances beyond our control,” a La Liga spokesman said. The RFEF did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.Advertisement

The announcement of the jail terms triggered mass protests across the region, with chaos at Barcelona’s El Prat airport leading to the cancellation of dozens of flights as well as clashes between police and protesters.

Local media reported that 51 arrests were made while 54 officers from the regional police force and 18 from the national force had been injured.

On Monday, Barça released a statement titled “Prison is not the solution”, condemning the sentences, while the Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola also spoke out against the jail terms in a video that was released on social media by the group Tsunami Democratic.

Protests continued throughout Wednesday, with the country’s high-speed rail network suffering delays, while motorways throughout Catalonia and many of Barcelona’s main thoroughfares remain closed.

Meanwhile, the Barcelona forward Lionel Messi picked up a record-extending sixth – and third consecutive – European Golden Shoe award on Wednesday following his outstanding 2018-19 domestic campaign.

The award is presented to the top goalscorer in league football across Europe, with the Argentinian finding the net 36 times last season as Barça retained their league title. Messi was three ahead of nearest rival Kylian Mbappé, who scored 33 times for Paris St Germain as they won Ligue 1.

“My team and my team-mates, I would have never been able to win even one of these awards without them,” Messi said at the presentation in Barcelona. “This is a recognition for everyone, all the team.”

Source: The Guardian

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