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El Clasico set to be postponed until December amid security concerns

Camp Nou Barcelona

The first El Clasico clash of the season between Barcelona and Real Madrid looks set to be switched to December following security fears.

The match had been scheduled for October 26 at Barca’s Nou Camp stadium, but the risk of civil unrest has caused LaLiga to ask the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) for either a change in location or date.

The match came under threat following days of mass protest in Barcelona after nine Catalan political leaders were given lengthy prison sentences for their roles in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum.

LaLiga asked the RFEF on Wednesday if the match could be switched from the Nou Camp to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu but both teams rejected this proposal.

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Reports in Spain suggested that December 18 looked to be a favourable date but LaLiga did not want the match played on a Wednesday, with Saturday December 7 suggested as another option.

“The Clasico can’t be on that day (December 18th), there are Copa del Rey matches,” LaLiga president Javier Tebas told EFE.

In order to change the fixture to December 7, Barca and Real’s opponents that weekend – Real Mallorca and Espanyol respectively – would have to agree to having their fixtures moved.

The RFEF competitions’ committee is understood to make its decision on Monday, October 21.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde believes the match will still go ahead on October 26 despite fears over security.

“It is scheduled for October 26 and I have no doubt that it will go ahead without problems, respecting the opponents and everyone else involved,” he said in a press conference reported by MARCA.

“I do not know what decision the (Spanish Football) Federation will take. We will do whatever is decided.

“There is room to manoeuvre. If the match were tomorrow then perhaps (it wouldn’t go ahead), but there are still nine days to go.”