Thursday, November 11, 2010

El Clásico to be contested on a MONDAY

Barcelona, Real Madrid, and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have agreed to move El Clásico to Monday, November 29th. On Sunday, the originally scheduled date of the match, Catalan elections are set to be held, and the local authorities had reservations about security for both occasions (and getting people to vote). 

On the one hand, I completely understand why Barcelona did not want the game staged on Sunday. Although it would kick off around 10pm local time at the Camp Nou and polls would be long closed, there is the issue of security. At the stadium itself and around the city, there will be plenty of Madrileños aka targets for violence and vitriol. Security forces will need to be at their fullest capacity. The problem is, 10pm is around the time when results could come in. And even if they came in earlier, there is the issue of celebrations and election parties where security would also be necessary. Frankly, it's a logistical nightmare and the RFEF could ill afford risking a lax in security for one of the most heated derbies on Earth.

Then we have the RFEF itself who were, in my opinion, too weak to assert any influence here. We all know every decision made in this sport revolves around money, and nothing more. Not the supporters, not attendance levels, not the squads (and in some cases not even security). Money and revenue only. So how could the Federation allow the biggest, and most anticipated game on the planet, to be played on a workday?! When ratings will drop. When interest will dwindle. Catalans would have complained (or at least the candidates would have) were the game held on Sunday. And I doubt many people would have argued with their reasoning to do so. But the RFEF needs to do what is in the best interest of their league - a league with the potential to be the most exciting in Europe. This is their grand spectacle to the world, and most won't be able to watch.

You could say that having it on a Monday makes it even more engaging. They will have their own Clásico day. That's just crap though. Spain missed an opportunity here to reach a record number of televisions in every corner of the world. I can't think of a bigger inconvenience in history than this.

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