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Xavi believes it is “crazy” to force Barcelona to play Real Mallorca on Sunday due to Blaugrana’s 17 first-team absence.
Barca were hit by a wave of COVID-19 cases during the winter break, with as many as 10 players testing positive for the disease.
One of them – Samuel Umtiti – has since returned a negative test, meaning he is technically available for Sunday’s trip, although he is not considered to be in good shape after being unable to train in the past week .
In addition, Xavi is without five players through injury; Sergio Busquets is suspended; Yusuf Demir negotiates his departure; and Ferran Torres, who is injured anyway, can sign up no earlier than Monday.
While postponements have become common in other competitions, such as the Premier League, the rules of the LaLiga make such situations much rarer.
Teams must still play as long as they have 13 players available from their first and second teams. Clubs must continue to adhere to the rule that dictates that a minimum of seven players enrolled in the senior team are on the field at the same time.
But that minimum can drop to five players if the teams have fewer than seven professionals available for selection – essentially, as long as Barca can name five first-team players in a starting XI, their matches will not be postponed, much to Xavi’s frustration.
FC Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti has taken a PCR test for Covid-19 and the result is negative, which means he is able to return to training. The club has informed the corresponding authorities. pic.twitter.com/LDoModQKNG
FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 1, 2022
“It makes no sense to play tomorrow,” Xavi told reporters at Saturday’s pre-match press conference.
“We are in an extreme situation. We have between 17-18 injured, it depends on Umtiti, who today has been tested negative but has not trained for a week.
“It’s time to suspend the game. This way [not postponing the game], the competition is fake, it’s crazy to play like this.
“We have no choice but to compete with those we have. Mallorca have also asked for it [the game to be postponed].
“We must appeal to common sense. It’s not a complaint, it’s a reality. Basketball has been suspended.
“We will play if LaLiga forces us. We have trained well, but it is a chaotic situation. Whatever it is, we will go out to compete and try to win.”
Barca enter their first match of 2022 as number seven in LaLiga, 18 points from leaders Real Madrid.