Copa del Rey final moved to Camp Nou after Real Madrid refuse to host match at Santiago Bernabeu
Barcelona, March 26 (IANS) The Spanish football federation (RFEF) have confirmed that this season's Copa del Rey’s final between Athletic Club Bilbao and FC Barcelona will be played at Camp Nou here on May 30.
Both finalists had asked for the game to be played at Real Madrid's 78,000 capacity Santiago Bernabeu. Last week, they had sent a joint letter to RFEF requesting that the Madrid stadium be the venue, arguing that it is the biggest neutral ground in Spain.
Madrid is relatively easy to reach for both sets of supporters and the capital city has enough hotels to accommodate everyone with no problem.
However, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who describes themselves as a 'club of gentlemen', refused to cede the ground to Athletic and Barcelona for the second time in three years, forcing both sides to agree on an alternative venue.
Athletic asked for the final to be played in Seville in Betis' Benito Villamarin while Barcelona preferred Valencia's Mestalla and the two were unable to reach agreement.
That meant the RFEF members voted on the final and they decided to play in Barcelona's Camp Nou, which has a capacity of 99,000, much greater than either Mestalla or Athletic's San Mames, which was also mooted as a possible venue.
Barcelona will have a clear advantage in playing in a ground which they are used to while Athletic will think that their support will perhaps outnumber Barcelona fans in the stadium.