‘Clasico will be played’, says Barcelona president Bartomeu
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Thursday the Clasico against Real Madrid next week will not be postponed again, amid renewed fears of unrest around the fixture.
Protestors from the Catalan separatist movement, Democratic Tsunami, have called for a “massive” protest outside Camp Nou, where Barcelona are due to play against Real Madrid in La Liga on December 18.
Spain’s most prestigious fixture was originally scheduled for October 26 but had to be postponed following a wave of pro-independence demonstrations in the city.
“I can say that the Clasico will be played, it will not be postponed again,” Bartomeu said at a Christmas press event in Barcelona.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure it goes ahead. We know that we live in a complicated period in Catalonia but that can be compatible with sport.
“Our stadium is a place for free expression, it always has been, and that is why we want to send out a message of normality and calm.
“The club is preparing for the Clasico with complete normality and we tell our fans to come with their family and friends.
“Together we have to deliver a Clasico that is a celebration of sport and of people. We want peace and calm.”
Democratic Tsunami has urged protestors to gather at four points around Camp Nou from 4:00 pm (1500 GMT), four hours before kick-off.
“In an exceptional situation, we should act in an exceptional way,” said a statement from the group on Tuesday.
The rally is the latest in a series of demonstrations that began two months ago when Spain’s top court jailed nine Catalan separatist leaders over their role in a failed 2017 bid for independence.