The “Clasico” postponed for fears of riots and violence

So what’s more emotionally charged than a game with the two biggest rivals in one of the most competitive leagues in the world? Maybe two giant names in football going after each other for respect and supremacy, or just a Real Madrid vs Barcelona match that has to carry not just the weight of sport legacies but also the hopes and angsts of two factions of a country at war with itself.

Any passionate football fan has seen his or her devotion transcend the field, identifying with the values of the team and defending it. In this case, all of these aspects we have come to appreciate about the beautiful game of football have turned one of the most awaited matches in the world into a possible explosive event.

So the decision was made to postpone the date of the Clasico game, which would have originally been played on the 26th of September.  While both teams agreed on the change and even the government supported the move, the change to the 18th of December was only achieved after a difficult and long deliberation between all of the parties and the Competition Committee.

So why did the date need to be changed?

Real Madrid and Barcelona might just be the biggest and best rivalry in Spanish football for some, but there is a heavy history and tension behind it. For many fans on each side, the teams represent the continuous struggle between the independent desires of the Catalan territory and the Spanish state.

The tension between both is ever-present, even when the teams are much more international in makeup and fanbase every year. There’s still a sense of more than athletic rivalry, especially considering that the teams and matches are held in the two cities representing the biggest strongholds of the conflict.

For this match the situation was especially tense, earlier this month a few political figures in the Catalan independence movement were sentenced to jail time for crimes of sedition and embezzlement, many supporters and other factions see the punishment to be out of hand and some support it.

This sparked weeks of riots and protests all across the region of Catalonia, but especially in Barcelona since it is the capital. With the closing in of the Clasico date up in flames went the idea of the usual tense but peaceful game we all love. You could see the fans, media outlets like soccer news websites, the players, teams all encouraging the decision to put reason and safety before the game.

It is becoming more and more often that football has a special quality of bringing people together to do the right thing above scoring a goal. What is most important is standing up for what is right, changing the idea of what footballers can look like, and becoming more aware of the effects of their actions have on the public. May we remind ourselves of the millions of young fans all over the world that can learn something from this decision, or even just you reading this article and gaining some knowledge on the Catalonia / Spain conflict.

The drama might not be completely over as the Liga officials are looking into challenging the decision with the argument that there is a Copa del Rey match date scheduled for the 18th as well and having a game such as the Clasico on the same day would devalue the competition. The best takeaway is a gleaming hope that this beautiful game might use its power for meaningful goals beyond the field as well.