Barcelona intend to resist attempts to move the clásico on 26 October from the Camp Nou to the Santiago Bernabéu after the Spanish league proposed the change amid protest and unrest in the Catalan capital.
Nine Catalan separatist leaders were jailed on Monday, handed sentences of between nine and 13 years for their role in an illegal referendum and the failed bid for independence in 2017. That ruling from the Supreme Court sparked protests, with police charges and confrontations across Catalonia. Barcelona’s El Prat airport was blocked, as were some roads. Reports said that more than 50 people have been arrested, while police used rubber and foam bullets.
Barcelona, who have always had a close identification with social and political Catalanism and are often seen as the region’s unofficial “national” team, released a statement immediately after the rulings in which they insisted that prison sentences were not the solution. The match against Madrid would be their first at home since the imprisonments, but they have no plans to postpone or change the fixture. First, they travel to Eibar this Saturday.
The league wrote to the Spanish Federation on Wednesday to ask that the game be switched to the Bernabéu to avoid any potential trouble, due to what it described as “exceptional circumstances beyond our control”. The Federation acknowledged receipt of the request and has handed the decision over to the competition committee, which has passed the information onto the two clubs and given them until Monday to respond.
Barcelona are yet to say anything publicly, but they do not welcome the suggestion and nor do they see a need to change where the game is played. A decision is expected to be made on Wednesday, when both clubs have had the chance to respond, but that is just three days prior to the game.