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El Clasico postponed amid fears of unrest in Catalonia


Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) vies with Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Dani Carvajal during the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 2, 2019. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP) (Photo credit should read OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

After days of speculation, Barcelona and Real Madrid have seen next weekend’s meeting at the Camp Nou officially postponed. La Liga announced Friday morning that the fixture had been pushed back thanks to fears of civil unrest in Catalonia.

Nine Catalan political leaders were arrested on Monday and put in jail for past efforts towards securing Catalan independence, leading to days of protests. The Camp Nou has been a popular location for pro-Catalan political displays and banners, and it was feared that the high profile sporting event would be a focal point for unrest following the arrests.

Reportedly, the new proposed date is December 18, which slides the match in between a congestion of games just before the league-wide holiday break. Both teams have league matches on December 15 and December 22, with each side visiting opponents on the former and playing at home on the latter. The Spanish federation has given the clubs until Monday to officially agree on a new date.

At least 96 people have been injured in protests that have continued for the last five days across the region, with many turning violent in clashes with police.

The separatist leaders were jailed specifically for their roles in a 2017 Catalonia referendum that featured a 43% voter turnout and a 90% backing for independence. The Spanish court system ruled the referendum illegal after its conclusion.

Barcelona issued a statement on Monday regarding the ruling, saying “prison is not the solution.”

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