Still no venue for Copa del Rey final

February 14th, 2012 - 6:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Feb 14 (IANS) A venue is yet to be decided for the Spanish Copa del Rey football final between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club Bilbao.

The Spanish Cup final is due to be played May 20 (or May 25 if Barcelona reach the Champions League final), but as of now the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has been unable to name a venue.

Athletic Club Bilbao President, Jose Urrutia and Barcelona General Director, Tony Freixa were at the RFEF headquarters Monday to decide a venue. Both clubs have asked for the final to be played in Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, which has a capacity of 82,000 fans and is approximately the same distance from Bilbao and Barcelona.

However, Real Madrid appear unwilling to cede the ground, fearful of seeing bitter rivals Barcelona celebrate another title and celebrating it on their own ground.

Madrid allege they will be starting rebuilding work on the stadium as soon as the league season ends May 13th, although the club also adds that they need the Bernabeu should they win the Champions League final May 19.

Meanwhile in Bilbao and Barcelona, they are standing firm in their desire to play in the Spanish capital.

“The Bernabeu is the first option and it is the ideal ground to play in,” Urrutia was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “Both Athletic and Barcelona have asked for the Bernabeu to be the venue. We are now waiting for a final decision, because this meeting with the Federation was for them to listen to the clubs. We have given our opinion and we represent an important number of fans,” he concluded.

Freixa explained Barcelona’s viewpoint. “We want a ground that fulfils the criteria of maximum capacity and which is equidistant between the two cities. We believe the ground that responds to that criteria is the Bernabeu and both ourselves and Athletic have told the Federation about it,” he said.

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