El Clasico to be rescheduled amid Catalonia protests

Barcelona and Real Madrid’s first El Clasico of the season, which was originally scheduled for Oct. 26 at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, has been postponed as protests take place in Spain’s Catalonia region.

The two clubs have been told to reschedule the fixture by Monday at 10 a.m. local time to avoid having the Royal Spanish Football Federation’s (RFEF) competition committee select a date on their behalf, according to The Guardian’s Sid Lowe.

Dec. 18 is understood to be the most likely date for the rescheduled match despite there being Copa del Rey fixtures on the same day.

La Liga originally proposed moving the match to Real’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium – which would have seen the return match on March 1 moved to the Camp Nou – but the clubs and the RFEF all opposed that proposal, and it was ruled out.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s mayor opposed rescheduling the game, citing several other sporting events taking place in the city the same weekend.

However, there are protests scheduled for Oct. 26. The competition committee referenced “exceptional circumstances beyond our control” as the reason for postponing the match.

Protests began on Monday after nine Catalan separatist leaders were jailed. Hundreds of thousands of people sporting pro-Catalan independence flags participated in marches across the region on Friday.

At least 96 people have been hurt amid the protests, according to BBC Sport.

Catalonia, which includes Barcelona, is a semi-autonomous region in northeast Spain. A referendum on Oct. 1, 2017, which was deemed illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court, saw nearly 90% of voters in support of independence from Spain.

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