UPDATE 2-Upcoming 'Clasico' between Barca, Real Madrid postponed amid Catalan crisis
Barcelona's Oct. 26 La Liga soccer match at home to Real Madrid has been postponed over security concerns amid violent political demonstrations in Catalonia, the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said on Friday.
Following huge demonstrations over the jailing of nine Catalan separatist leaders, the league's organizing body made an official request to the RFEF this week for the game to be rearranged. The federation approved that request on Friday, adding that it was up to the two clubs to arrange a new date for the game before a deadline of Oct. 21. Failing that, the committee would determine the new date.
Barca said in a statement they wanted the rearranged game to be played on Dec. 18, adding that they were in favour of the game going ahead on Oct. 26 and opposed La Liga's proposal to move the game to the Santiago Bernabeu on the same date. The RFEF said Real were also in favour of playing the match on Dec. 18.
Barca added that they had "utmost confidence in the civic and pacific attitude of its fans and members", also apologizing to supporters who were inconvenienced by the decision and saying tickets purchased would be refunded. Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said he and his players would accept any date, also calling the images of violence in Catalonia "difficult".
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators waving pro-independence flags and chanting "freedom for political prisoners" joined marches across Catalonia on Friday, the fifth day of protests. Barcelona town hall said 700 garbage containers were set ablaze since protests began on Monday and estimated that the city had suffered damage totalling more than 1.5 million euros ($1.67 million).
An official from Barcelona town hall said around 10 trees were set on fire on Thursday. Regional police said 16 people were arrested across Catalonia on Thursday, while health officials said medical aid was provided to 42 people.
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