Football: Copa del Rey final postponed to avoid empty stadium

Bilbao's Raul Garcia (left) celebrates with team mates after scoring the 2-0 lead during a La Liga match against Real Valladolid on March 8, 2020 PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID (AFP) - The Copa del Rey final between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad on April 18 has been postponed, the Spanish football federation (RFEF) said after a meeting with the clubs on Wednesday (March 11).

The game was due to be played at La Cartuja in Seville.

"The Copa del Rey final has been postponed by mutual agreement with the finalist clubs to ensure that it will be played with spectators in the stands," RFEF president Luis Rubiales said in a statement.

"The aim is for La Cartuja to be full of people."

Bilbao president Aitor Elizegi and his Real Sociedad counterpart Jokin Aperribay had made clear they were opposed to playing the final in an empty stadium.

Bilbao won the last of their 23 Spanish Cups in 1984. Their Basque rivals have not lifted the trophy since 1987.

According to the Spanish press, one of the possible alternatives would be to play the final in Seville on May 30, a week after the end of the La Liga season and the same date as the Champions League final, but La Cartuja has been booked for a concert by Spanish heavy rock band Extremoduro.

The semi-finals of the women's competition, the Copa de la Reina, between Athletic Bilbao and CDEF Logrono and Barcelona and Sevilla, have also been postponed "until further notice".

On Tuesday, the RFEF ordered all matches in the top two divisions played behind closed doors.

On Wednesday it also shut down all men's and women's outdoor and indoor competitions below the top two divisions.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.