As the La Liga race gets heated up between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, the first El Clasico which was supposed to take place on 26th October has now been postponed to a later date.
The hotly-contested derby was all set to take place in the weekend but will now take place on the 18th of December as set by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, and you can open an account with Sky Bet or other bookmakers to predict and bet on who will win the game (or whether it may happen at all this year).
The reason for the postponement is because of rising political tensions in the Barcelona area, pertaining to the Catalonia Freedom movement which has been a point of interest for many years now.
After nine political leaders in Catalonia were arrested recently for their involvement in the Catalonia independence referendum back in 2017, even Barcelona sent out a statement condemning the decision.
Barca had sent out an official statement where they stated that “prison is not the solution” and also made a calling for “all political leaders to lead a process of dialogue and negotiation to resolve this conflict.”
According to certain sources, the protestors from the independence movement were looking to use the high-profile derby, which is seen by 500 million+ fans around the world, as a means of voicing their specific concerns to the world stage.
This emerged as a threat to the Spanish Football Federation, who felt it would be better for all parties involved to postpone the game and as such was done after consultation with both the clubs.
A different take was also given to avoid the postponement when the federation offered to host the derby at the Santiago Bernabeu without having to push the date, but Barcelona felt it would be unfair for them to lose their home advantage and even Los Blancos were opposed to the idea.
The Clasico is normally played on weekends to pique attention, but will now be played in the mid-week on a Wednesday fixture.
However, Javier Tebar, President of La Liga, refused to make it a late-night affair as the league would be losing viewers in the Asia region.
He told ABC of the same, “Spanish football loses value, in every sense, not just financial, but of presence in Asia.”
“All the TV operators know it. The agreement signed was for the first Clasico of the season to be orientated towards the Asian market. That was why it was played on a Saturday at 1pm [local time]. If it is played on Wednesday night in Spain, Asia is asleep.”, he further added.
Barcelona and Real Madrid will not have any league fixtures in the weekend due to the postponement of the derby, but the rest of the La Liga are unaffected and will go on as scheduled.