Football: Saudi Arabia pulls out of hosting Spanish Super Cup, according to report

La Liga champions Real Madrid and runners-up Barcelona have qualified for the Super Cup. PHOTO: AFP

MADRID (REUTERS) - This season's Spanish Super Cup will be played in the region of Andalusia and not in Saudi Arabia in January due to the coronavirus pandemic, El Pais newspaper reported on Saturday (Dec 12).

The Spanish football federation (RFEF) agreed a three-year deal worth a reported €120 million (S$194 million) with the Saudi sports authority in 2019 to expand the competition and play the game in the Middle East.

Real Madrid were crowned champions of the first edition of the four-team competition held in Jeddah in January.

El Pais reported, however, that the Saudis did not wish to hold the tournament until coronavirus restrictions were lifted and spectators were able to attend matches, adding they had agreed to extend the deal with the federation by a year to compensate for the loss in revenue.

The RFEF would not confirm the change but said an announcement would be made soon.

La Liga champions Real and runners-up Barcelona have qualified for the Super Cup alongside Copa del Rey finalists Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao, who have still not played last season's showpiece game due to coronavirus restrictions.

The Super Cup used to be the season curtain raiser, a game held in August between the league champions and Cup winners until the federation voted to expand it in 2019.

The El Pais report said the final would take place on Jan 17 in Seville's La Cartuja stadium, while the semi-finals would be held on Jan 13 and 14, either in Seville, Malaga or Cordoba.

Spectators are unlikely to be allowed in to attend matches due to ongoing restrictions in Spain.

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