It was officially announced this afternoon that the Copa del Rey Final between Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid will be played at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid on Friday the 17th of May at 21.30 local time.
The Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF, Spain’s governing body) confirmed after a meeting between all parties at las Rozas (the Federation’s headquarters) that the match should be played in the city and at the Bernabéu as it was the best option for both groups of supporters and their respective clubs. Each club will have an allocation of 30,000 tickets and no traveling costs will be incurred by either support.
The match has been moved to the Friday evening as the Spanish National State Owned Television channel TVE (Televisión Española) have the rights to show the match live. TVE also have the rights to show the Eurovision Song Contest live and this takes place on the evening of Saturday the 18th. The only options for the State channel and RFEF were to move the match to either the Friday or Sunday to avoid any scheduling clash. Both clubs have had to give up on their wishes for the venue for the match.
Real Madrid wanted the game to be played at either the Mestalla in Valencia or Camp Nou in Barcelona as they believed the match should be played at a neutral venue. They also wished to avoid memories of another cup final which became known as “El Centenariazo”. In their centenary season and curiously also the 100th cup final the Federation decided to honour Madrid hosting the showpiece at the Santiago Bernabéu. What was set to be a grand celebration of the recently named greatest team of the century turned out to be a devastating and humbling experience for the Merengues. Deportivo la Coruña were the “home” teams opponents on March the 6th, 2002, the proverbial lambs to the slaughter. However, the Galician outfit upset the party and ran out 1-2 winners with goals from Sergio and Diego Tristán (Raúl scoring for Madrid in the 60th minute).
Atlético Madrid argued that the match should be hosted at the Vicente Calderón as the last final between the two Madrid giants had been at the Bernabéu and as President Enrique Cerezo stated “the last final was at Chamartín so therefore it had to be the turn of the Manzanares”.
The venue itself has proved more of a hindrance than a help for the home side in this city derbi in the final with the two most recent finals having gone the way of the visitors, the last of which was a 2-0 Atlético win in 1992 at the Bernabeu. Atlético also won at the same stadium the previous year defeating Mallorca 1-0 to lift the trophy.
The people that will benefit from the choice of venue the most are the supporters as there will be no expeditions having to be formed to other cities and the stadium can accommodate more fans than the Vicente Calderón. In Spain’s current economic crisis, any help is more than welcome.