Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has blamed the club for the postponement of the first Clasico of the season.
La Blaugrana were due to face Real Madrid at Camp Nou on 26 October, but fiery protests in Catalonia led to Spanish footballing authorities delaying the match, with the rivals now likely to meet in December.
Catalans had been campaigning for their region to be granted independence from the rest of the country, leading to a 350,000-strong march in the streets of Barcelona.
However, Laporta believes Ernesto Valverde’s team should have done more to prevent the fixture being pushed back, saying (as quoted by Marca): “I think this match had to be played, they didn’t give exceptional circumstances to change the date.
“These matches require security devices because it’s a match with a lot of rivalry that everyone watches and always has been. If Real Madrid wanted to play then I don’t see the problem. The sectors wanted to magnify what was happening, for political reasons.”
Laporta went on to claim his old club had misread the situation, explaining: “[Barcelona] were mistaken because they criminalised a movement and put politics ahead of a football match that always has political connotations. It’s always been like this.
“They’ve played a game with the sectors that rule football to make people from Barcelona and everyone look bad. La Liga made a strong move for it not to be played. [They] had political interests to magnify a certain situation and exaggerate what happened.
“This criminalises Catalans and people from Barcelona. Barcelona-Real Madrid always goes further; Real Madrid didn’t object to playing. It’s a huge error that heats up the atmosphere and magnifies the problem more.
“Barcelona had to have planned for 26 October. Safety has always been guaranteed in these matches. Barcelona were in a position to plan, and even more so when Real Madrid didn’t object to it. Barcelona are guilty in this situation. People are being criminalised and this is an error.”
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