Barcelona and Real Madrid’s rescheduled El Clasico is in danger of getting postponed for a second time after fresh player safety concerns ahead of the fixture.
The El Classico was originally scheduled on October 26 but could not be played due to security concerns in the Catalan capital. The Classico date was postponed to December 18 after both the clubs came to an agreement with La Liga over the new date. Classico is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world every year. The blockbuster clash, however, has been thrown into doubt yet again after a political protest has threatened to postpone the game.
Tsunami Democratic, a pro-Catalan independence protest group, released a statement on Tuesday revealing their plans to stage a rally around the Nou Camp on the date of the Classico. The group has over 18,000 supporters and plan to meet at four separate locations, all in close proximity to the stadium. The protest is due to begin at 4.00 pm on December 18, less than four hours before the match is due to kick-off, meaning the authorities might have no choice but to call the game off yet again.
The protestors released a statement online reading “In an exceptional situation, it is necessary to act exceptionally. At this time, an important part of the Catalan population suffers from the exclusion for ideological reasons. It cannot exercise fundamental rights without repression, nor can it exercise his right to self-determination. In addition, dozens of people are or have been arrested simply for exercising and promoting these rights.
After verifying the impossibility of agreeing with FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF the opportunity to make visible, in the stands and on the pitch, in an effective form, the call for dialogue that Spain ignores, Tsunami Democratic commits to doing so. For this, Tsunami Democratic convenes a massive concentration on December 18 at 4 pm outside Camp Nou. So far, more than 18,000 people have signed up to the call.”
Many of these people, with tickets or membership [of FC Barcelona], have already received the relevant slogans and have organized to develop the actions planned for a day that will be followed by 650 million people around the world.”
Tsunami Democratic had nine leaders of the Catalan independence movement imprisoned two weeks prior to the previously scheduled fixture in October. Those protests led to violent clashes with police and left several injured and forcing the Spanish FA to shift the game from the scheduled date. The potential for something similar happening on December 18 has forced the Spanish FA to hold emergency talks to ensure the game can go ahead.
The Spanish FA has so far insisted the game will go ahead as planned, but the fresh plans of protest may force them into a re-think. It’s just eight days until the match is scheduled to take place and yet, the fate of El Clasico remains clouded. Barcelona and Real Madrid are currently separated by goal difference in LaLiga with the Catalan club at the summit as of now. Barcelona plays Real Sociedad next while Real Madrid will be visiting Valencia for their next league fixture.