The majority of neutrals will be cheering on Atletico Madrid in Saturday’s title-deciding final Liga match of the season at Barcelona, whether because they have been enchanted by Diego Simeone and his side’s fantastic season, because they habitually root for the underdog or even just because they’re sick of Barca and Real Madrid almost always winning the league.
The Catalan giants, though, have decided to chuck in one more good reason to hope Atleti hang on at the top of the table with what can only be regarded as a rather sinister attempt to stack the deck in their favour.
For the winner-takes-all match at Camp Nou, the away side have been allocated just 447 seats of their 98,000-capacity stadium to Atletico.
That’s right: only 447 travelling fans will be able to witness their team potentially lift a rare league title thanks to the gamesmanship of one of the two clubs responsible for the duopoly in Spain most seasons.
447 is 0.456% of what Barcelona can accommodate in their famous home venue. In addition, those tickets will cost 93 euros (£75).
Such a cheeky decision is perfectly legal over there because, as our Spanish colleague Ivan Castello explains, “in Spain there are no prerogatives for the rivals tickets. It is only a pact between the clubs implicated and each one decides the price and the number of seats.”
Will such a move by Barcelona work in stifling the away atmosphere and helping the hosts snatch another league title it looked like they had blown? Or will such an attempt to flex their proverbial muscle over a side with less experience of the nasty underbelly of life at the top of the food chain only cause them to play out of their skins and show Barca what for?
More importantly, if you found yourself boxed out of a potentially-huge moment for your local club because of mind games and politics, how would you react?
Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
- Sports & Recreation
- Atletico Madrid
- Diego Simeone
- Real Madrid