El Clásico will not go on as scheduled next week, LaLiga made this much clear. But why was El Clásico postponed and when will the match be made up? Here’s a quick explainer of everything going on in Spain right now.
The first El Clásico of the season — the biggest club match in the world — was slated for Saturday, Oct. 26 at Barcelona’s Camp Nou. Now it appears the match will be rescheduled for either Dec. 4 or Dec. 18 (both Wednesdays).
Why Was El Clásico Postponed
But why was El Clásico postponed in the first place?
Here’s the super-short version: A massive political protest is scheduled in Barcelona the date of the originally scheduled clásico, forcing the teams to agree on a later date.
The slightly less short version adds a bit of nuance.
Protests verging on riots broke out this week in the Spanish region of Catalonia, of which Barcelona is the capital. On Monday, the country’s Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan political leaders to nine to 13 years in jail for holding a referendum on the independence, which was declared illegal.
Polls show about half of Catalonians support independence from Spain, so the sentencing sparked expected protests across the region. And the protests have been massive, with Reuters reporting hundreds of thousands of marchers heading toward Barcelona.
Marxa que ve de Sant Quirze pic.twitter.com/KdP5bTgUYm— mj II*II #DUI (@mjllm) October 18, 2019
A large political demonstration is scheduled for Oct. 26 in Barcelona, the date of the originally scheduled clásico. League officials, concerned about the safety of fans attending the match, did not want to play El Clásico in Barcelona at the same time as a huge political protest.
LaLiga suggested switching dates to play the Oct. 26 El Clásico in Madrid and the March 1 match in Barcelona. The Catalonia club wanted to keep the schedule as it was and Real Madrid was not interested in changing its home game so soon before the match.
“The Club has the utmost confidence in the civic and pacific attitude of its members and fans who always express themselves in exemplary fashion at Camp Nou,” FC Barcelona said in a statement.
Spain’s competition committee — comprised of one LaLiga official, one Spanish federation official and one independent — rejected the idea of switching the dates and ultimately the decision landed back in the hands of Barcelona and Real Madrid to determine a suitable make-up date, ensuring the postponement of El Clásico.
LaLiga initially stated it wanted the match to be moved to Saturday, Dec. 7, so it could be played at a time favorable to Asian TV markets (the match at the Bernabeu will be tailored toward TV markets in the Americas). Such a change would require moving two other matches that weekend, so Barcelona and Real Madrid have stated Wednesday, Dec. 18, is their favored make-up date.
Spanish authorities have yet to confirm the date, with Marca reporting LaLiga now wants the match to be played on Wednesday, Dec. 4, so it is as of yet undetermined when the first El Clásico of the season will be played.
If you want greater insight into why El Clásico was postponed, read Sid Lowe’s piece here, which goes deeper into Barcelona and Catalonia’s place in Spain and the greater political movements at play. For more viewpoints, read up at Vice, BBC and the Associated Press.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 18, 2019
Official Announcement.#RealMadrid— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) October 18, 2019
Maybe they should just play El Clásico in Argentina, since a Superclásico last year was moved to Madrid.