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La Liga asks for Clasico to be moved to Madrid due to protests

October 16, 2019 18:47 IST

People hold a Catalan flag and light candles during a protest against the jailing of Catalan separatists in Mallorca Street near the Spanish Government Delegation in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday. Spain's Supreme Court has sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison over their role in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum

IMAGE: People hold a Catalan flag and light candles during a protest against the jailing of Catalan separatists in Mallorca Street near the Spanish Government Delegation in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday. Spain's Supreme Court has sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison over their role in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum. Photograph: Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Spain's top football division has asked that this month's El Clasico match between Barcelona and Real Madrid be moved from Barcelona to the capital amid growing protests in Catalonia.

Nine Catalan separatist leaders were jailed for between nine and 13 years on Monday for their roles in an illegal referendum and subsequent failed independence bid, sparking protests and clashes across the region. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia.

 

The match is due to take place on Oct. 26 at Barca's CampNou stadium. But La Liga has asked the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to reverse the fixture.

The second meeting of the season is due to take place in Madrid in March.

 “We have requested the competitions committee of the RFEF to meet and change the location of El Clasico to Madrid because of exceptional circumstances beyond our control,” a La Liga spokesman said.

The RFEF did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

The announcement of the jail terms triggered mass protests across the region, with chaos at Barcelona’s El Prat airport leading to the cancellation of dozens of flights as well as clashes between police and protesters.

Local media reported that 51 arrests were made while 125 people had been treated for injuries.

On Monday, Barca released a statement titled “Prison is not the solution” condemning the sentences, while Manchester City's Spanish coach, Pep Guardiola, also spoke out against the jail terms in a video that was released on social media by the group Tsunami Democratic.

Protests continued throughout Wednesday, with the country's high-speed rail network suffering delays, while motorways throughout Catalonia and many of Barcelona's main thoroughfares remain closed.

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