Real fear second postponement
Sunday night's postponed Rayo Vallecano versus Real Madrid fixture has been rescheduled for 19.45 (local time) on Monday, against the wishes of the Liga champions, who fear the game might again have to be called off.
The Primera Division tie was due to take place on Sunday night at the Estadio Vallecas, but it was called off after it was discovered suspected vandals had sabotaged the ground's floodlights.
Approximately 10,000 Rayo fans waited outside the stadium for over an hour, and Real players kept warm on the Vallecas pitch, as club and league officials analysed the damage and decided what to do, before the game was eventually rescheduled for Monday evening.
A statement on Madrid's website said they had hoped the game could be played during daylight hours as they were not convinced the floodlight issue would be resolved in time.
"After the deplorable events that took place yesterday, Sunday, and led to the suspension of the Rayo Vallecano-Real Madrid match, Real Madrid C.F. asked the Professional Football League (LFP) to schedule the game today, Monday, during the day in order to avoid any potential problems that might again put it at risk," the statement said.
"The president of the LFP has decided, however, that the match will be played at 19:45 and has accepted personal responsibility for it to take place without incident. Real Madrid C.F. bases their request on their concern for the lack of dates for the rescheduling of the match should it not be possible for the match to go ahead today."
Before the LFP announced the new kick-off time, Miguel Pardeza, Real's sporting director, was telling reporters that he (and Real coach Jose Mourinho) wanted a 17.00 start.
"The best is to play on Monday at 17.00 as they cannot guarantee us that the electrical problem will be resolved by 20.00," Pardeza said. "That is the hour our coach has asked for and we support him. It is their problem, we have no responsibility for what happened. We defend our own rights."
Rayo coach Paco Jemez was meanwhile refusing to countenance a kick-off time which would mean most home fans would be unable to attend.
"If they ask us to play at 17.00 I will say no because the fans will not be able to see the game," Jemez said. "Above everything our fans should be able to come to see us, those who would be damaged are the people who had a ticket and could not see the show."
Shortly before the new kick-off time was set, LFP vice-president Javier Tebas said Madrid's views on the matter were unimportant. "It is not important what Real Madrid say," Tebas said. "The Spanish federation are the ones who set the times."
While the "sabotage" was unexpected, some protests by Rayo fans had been foreseen as many, including ultras group Los Bukaneros, were upset at a decision by the club to force season ticket holders to pay an extra €25 to attend the game.
Rayo president Raul Martin Presa told Spanish TV that he did not automatically see a link to the club's ticketing policy and what he called an "act of vandalism".
"The game cannot be played because the cables have been cut," Presa said. "The saboteurs climbed up to the roof. I do not want to think they have done this because of the prices we set for this game. We are very sorry for our fans. We apologise to them. I hope they understand that this is something apart from us because it was an act of vandalism."
Rayo have announced that tickets for the original game will be accepted at Vallecas' turnstiles on Monday night, and fans who could not attend will be given a refund.