The prospect of moving the game to Madrid has been dismissed, but fans of the two giants will have to wait almost two more months for the showpiece
The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has confirmed the postponement of the Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid due to concerns over political instability in Catalunya.
Tensions in the region have been inflamed by a controversial court decision jailing several leading members of the Catalan independence movement for their role in organizing a referendum on the subject in 2017.
As of Thursday, the streets of Barcelona and surrounding areas had been hit by four consecutive days of violent clashes between protesters and security forces.
And a massive rally is planned for the city of Barcelona on October 26 – the same day that the Blaugrana were scheduled to host their arch-rivals at Camp Nou.
Several options were considered by the RFEF amid fears conditions would be unsuitable for the showpiece game, including the possibility of changing the venue to Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu home.
Both sides, however, dismissed that notion in notes sent to Spanish football’s governing body, which instead has opted to delay the match with both clubs and La Liga expected to agree on a new date for the game by next Monday.
A proposed date of December 18 has been shut down by La Liga due to the fact the game would be played mid-week, with December 7 now looming as a possible alternative if other games can be rescheduled.
Ahead of the judgment, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde had spoken out against the prospect of changing the league schedule and moving the game to the Bernabeu, while leaving open the chance for a postponement.
“There has been a lot of chatter about that game. There was the possibility of changing the order of matches and playing the game at Madrid first, but we don’t see that,” he told reporters.
“We have an away game this weekend, then [we would have another] next weekend, and then we have to go travel again.
“And not just because of that, but it’s about respecting the calendar and the fans, and the normal thing is to play at our pitch, but we’ll see what happens.
“Would a delay help Barca or Madrid? I don’t know, we’re going to wait and see. We’d be coming off a Wednesday [game] and they off a Tuesday [game]. It could seem we benefit more by not having to play, but those things are not very important.
“These games are so highly anticipated that I think the players are ready to play them whenever they are played.”
Barcelona resumes their domestic campaign on Saturday following the international break by playing away to Eibar, while Madrid travels to Mallorca the same day in search of a victory that would keep them at the top of the Spanish top flight.