(CNN)The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has postponed El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid later this month due to the ongoing Catalan protests.
The lengthy jail sentences handed to pro-independence politicians earlier this week sparked furious protests across the region, which continued into a fourth day Thursday.El Clasico is one of the most highly anticipated fixtures on the football calendar, with the bitter rivalry drawing in millions of viewers worldwide.READ:
How the jailing of pro-independence leaders triggered unrest in CataloniaREAD:
Catalan independence leaders given lengthy prison sentences by Spanish courtRead MoreReal Madrid and Barcelona have been given until October 21 to rearrange the fixture. Should they fail to do so, the RFEF will decide on a new date.Both clubs have proposed that the rescheduled fixture takes place on December 18.Earlier this week, La Liga had asked the RFEF that the match, originally scheduled for October 26, be moved from Barcelona’s Camp Nou to Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu.Nine of the Catalan independence leaders were given 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’s game against Las Palmas in 2017 was played in an empty stadium.In 2017, Barcelona was forced to play its La Liga match against Las Palmas behind closed doors at the Camp Nou after Catalonia’s disputed independence referendum descended into violence.Las Palmas indicated that it opposed the breakup of Spain, sending its players onto the pitch with small Spanish flags sewn onto their jerseys.Barcelona’s players took to the field wearing red and yellow shirts, the colors of Catalonia, before reverting to its normal strip for the match.Local police in Barcelona told CNN that more than 20 roads in and around Barcelona are closed Friday due to the demonstrations.
According to Barcelona City Council, the three nights’ of protests — Tuesday to Friday — have caused €1,575,000 ($1,753,000) worth of damage.Real Madrid currently tops La Liga with 18 points, two ahead of second-place Barcelona.