Controversy continues to plague the Supercopa de Espana, ahead of Sunday’s showdown between Barcelona and Sevilla in Tangier.
The traditional La Liga curtain raiser between the defending league champions and the Copa del Rey holders (or runners up in this example, as Barcelona won the double last season) has been littered with bad tempered incidents.
Initially the Andalusian club objected to La Liga’s decision to change the competition format of a two legged affair played at each side’s home ground, to a one-off game contested at a neutral venue outside of Spain.
The club made their feelings on the matter very clear via an official statement of objection to the league, however it was rejected and the game was authorised to go ahead in Morocco.
There has been further incident this week, following La Liga’s decision to downgrade the game from a fully competitive fixture to a non-competitive one.
Sevilla have been particularly irked by the decision after it came following Barcelona’s insistence on naming more than the allotted three non-EU players in their match day squad for the game.
Under La Liga rules this would be a violation, however following media speculation on it, the governing body confirmed that it would break from previous formats and register the game as non competitive.
This has angered Sevilla, as they view it as another relaxation of the rules in favour of Barcelona, and also a blow to the prestige of the competition.
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valderde has washed his hands of the incident, claiming that the decision has been made by La Liga, and that his club will abide by the new rule.
The three new boys should all play some part in the game, and it is has also been revealed that Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho has recently been granted a Portuguese passport – following the example of his team mates Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, who have dual nationality.
Sevilla’s annoyance at the decisions is unlikely to subside ahead of kick off, as they are convinced that the agenda is continually skewed in favour of Spain’s bigger sides.
The final is Barcelona’s eleventh in the past 14 seasons, winning seven of those finals, to become the most successful side in the history of the competition, with 12 titles.
Sevilla won the 2007 final, against Real Madrid, but lost in 2010 and 2016 to Barcelona.
How well do you know Spanish football? Want to challenge the best La Liga Fantasy Managers? Play www.liga-fantasy.com now!