Barcelona v Real Madrid clash POSTPONED as El Clasico falls victim to raging protests in Catalonia
Spanish football chiefs have announced that the game due to be played at Barcelona’s Nou Camp home on October 26 will now be switched to a later date.
It comes amid continued unrest in the region after nine separatist leaders were handed lengthy jail terms for their roles in the move for independence in 2017.
A protest was scheduled for Barcelona on the same date as the clash between the La Liga titans, leading to a committee of the the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announcing that a new date must be agreed between the clubs by 10am local time on Monday.
If the pair are unable to find a new date, the football authorities will themselves decide when the game will be played.
⚠ OFICIAL | El Comité de Competición aplaza #ElClásico ➡ @FCBarcelona_es y @realmadrid deberán acordar una nueva fecha antes de las 10h. del 21 de octubre➡ En caso de no llegar a un acuerdo, el Comité de Competición determinará la fecha 🔗 https://t.co/dZ9UX4ooMzpic.twitter.com/8zZsc9y8s9— RFEF (@rfef) October 18, 2019
"FC Barcelona and Real Madrid must agree on the new match date," the statement read, as the RFEF cited "exceptional circumstances beyond our control" as being behind the step.
A potential new date of December 7 has been widely reported, although that would involve rearranging existing fixtures for both teams. Barcelona officials offered December 18 as their preferred date after the news of the postponement on Friday.
La Liga chiefs had suggested reversing the fixture so that it would be played at Real Madrid's Bernabeu stadium, with the second league meeting of the season then played at the Nou Camp in March. However, that was not deemed feasible by the RFEF.
Unrest erupted in Catalonia after earlier this week a Spanish court jailed nine separatist leaders for sedition.
The decision sparked widespread protests in the region, with particularly large crowds gathering in central Barcelona.
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde had earlier called for the game to go ahead as planned, saying: "This game can perfectly take place, it's a good opportunity to play it as normal. It's a good opportunity to do so against all those that are pessimistic."Also on rt.com Flaming barricades & tensions: Unrest continues to grip Barcelona after Spain jails pro-independence Catalan leaders (VIDEOS)