The first hugely anticipated Clásico of the 2019/20 season between Barcelona and Real Madrid has been postponed over fears of potential civil unrest.
The game had been scheduled to take place at Camp Nou later this month, but rather than switch it to Madrid's Bernabeu, the huge encounter will reportedly be rescheduled for a date in December.
However, there remain conflicting preferences between La Liga and the federation’s competition committee over an exact date, with a decision to be made next week.
There have been concerns that the original 26 October date for the fixture could see the game engulfed by major protests against the recent sentencing of Catalan separatist leaders relating to the controversial 2017 independence referendum.
According to Marca, SPORT and Mundo Deportivo, La Liga have proposed the new date be Saturday 7 December, with a weekend fixture rather than midweek thought to have less of an impact on the global audience for what is by far the league’s biggest draw.
The alternative proposed by the Spanish federation’s competition committee is 18 December, which falls on a Wednesday. That is not ideal for La Liga, who as already mentioned, prefer their most mar3ketable fixture of the season to be played on a weekend date.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has also criticised the 18 December date as it would clash with the Copa del Rey second round fixtures that are being played that day – 16 La Liga teams will be in the competition, although Barça and Real won’t enter until a later round.
It presents the problem of El Clásico overshadowing those other games and potentially hindering the sale of television rights as interest will be diminished.
It remains to be seen who might get their way, but the new date for the first Clásico of the season is set to be confirmed on Monday 21 October.