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Spanish league asks to move El Clásico from Barcelona amid Catalan protests

Spain’s La Liga has asked the country’s football federation (RFER) to move the upcoming “El Clasico” match from Barcelona to Madrid because of the ongoing Catalonian protests.

The match between fierce rivals FC Barcelona and Real Madrid is due to be played at Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium on October 26.

But because of protests by separatists, which have turned violent on occasions, Spanish league officials have asked for the clash to be relocated to Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

“We have requested the competitions committee of the Spanish Football Federation to meet and change the location of El Clásico to Madrid because of exceptional circumstances beyond our control,” a La Liga spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.

READ: Arrests follow after football’s night of shame

If the game was to be moved, it would mean the reverse El Clasico, scheduled for March 1, would be played in Barcelona, rather than in the Spanish capital.

Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have reportedly rejected the idea of moving the game at such short notice, according to Spanish paper Marca.

CNN has contacted both clubs for comment but has yet to receive a response.

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The request from La Liga officials comes after the imprisonment of nine Catalan independence leaders, who received lengthy prison sentences of between nine and 13 years for their part in a failed 2017 attempt to split from Spain.

Three other defendants were found guilty of disobedience, fined and banned from public office for 20 months.

Barcelona has already been impacted by the protests, with road closures and airport delays forcing the Catalan giants to find alternative routes ahead of Saturday’s trip to Eibar.

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