El Clasico: Barcelona boss against moving Barca v Real from Nou Camp

Barcelona and Real Madrid players
Barcelona and Real Madrid have a passionate rivalry that stretches back nearly a century

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde says he is "hopeful" their match with Real Madrid on 26 October at the Nou Camp will not be moved to the Bernabeu.

La Liga has asked the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to switch the game to Madrid over fears of civil unrest.

There have been days of protest in Barcelona after nine Catalan separatist leaders were jailed on Monday.

Valverde says the club "weren't in favour" as they play away at Slavia Prague three days before El Clasico.

La Liga made the request because of "exceptional circumstances beyond our control" as more protests are expected in Barcelona on the day of the match.

The RFEF competitions committee is asking both clubs for their opinion and a decision is expected by Thursday, 24 October.

However reports in Spain claim the federation is considering postponing the game until December, rather than switching the fixture to Madrid.

"Under normal circumstances we'd play at home," said Valverde.

"They're anticipating certain different circumstances and while we know that this week has been out of the ordinary, we are hopeful of playing the game at our ground. That's what we want to do.

"We don't envisage El Clasico being played in the Bernabeu and we want to respect the schedule. There are still nine days to go."

Protests have continued into a fourth day in Spain's Catalonia region with protesters clashing with riot police. At least 96 people have been hurt across the region.

"It's a chance for people in society, as well as our fans to demonstrate a number of things. We respect the opposite - in this case our opponent - and that by being civil the match can be played," Valverde added.

"We want to get rid of all the doom-mongers who say the game won't go ahead. We can show that the match can be played as normal and forget about them."

Catalonia is a semi-autonomous region in north-east Spain and in a referendum on 1 October 2017, declared illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court, about 90% of Catalan votes cast backed independence. Turnout was 43%.

The nine separatist leaders were convicted of sedition over their role in the referendum and handed jail sentences of between nine and 13 years by Spain's Supreme Court.

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