In Focus: LaLiga & Spanish Football Federation Clash Over Postponed El Clásico
By Olga Monteiro, MSc Football Business student at UCFB
Following the recent events in Catalonia, after Spain’s Supreme Court jailed nine Catalan pro-independence politicians, the city was crowded with various street protests. As a result, the biggest fixture in Spanish football has been postponed.
Real Madrid were due to face the champions at Camp Nou on 26th October but the match was delayed by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) because of security concerns.
After both clubs rejected the proposal of changing the venue to Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, they have finally agreed on a date, rescheduling it for Wednesday 18th December.
Despite all efforts, this new date has not pleased LaLiga and the governing body has taken the decision to appeal before the courts and the Consejo Superior de Deportes (Spain’s High Council for Sport). LaLiga has also confirmed it is considering other legal action in response to the rescheduled game, calling for the fixture to be held on a weekend, as was originally planned, to prevent a drop in audience figures that could interfere with television sponsorship.
With El Clásico the most watched game in Spanish football, LaLiga is also concerned that Copa del Rey matches are scheduled for 18th December, with no other league matches due to be played on the new date, which could result in a massive financial loss for the league, citing a “lack of reference to legal norms”.
Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, said neither club should be involved with these issues. “We don’t want the internal wars of LaLiga and the RFEF to splash us,” he said. “I would like common sense to prevail.”
The good news for Barcelona is, Ousmane Dembélé, who was initially missing the match, as he was serving a two-match ban after being sent off against Sevilla, will now be able to play in the rescheduled game. And Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane may be able to count on midfielders Luka Modrić and Lucas Vázquez, who should have recovered from their injuries.
For now, the game will remain scheduled for the 18th December, as the Royal Spanish Football Federation Competition Committee has approved. The same day as Copa del Rey matches, and against LaLiga’s will.
Image: PA Images