Will US-Iran Conflict Put Supercopa in Danger?

Posted By Tyler Everett on January 8, 2020

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With tensions mounting between the US and Iran and military escalations taking place, is the Spanish Supercopa competition now in danger?

The Supercopa is scheduled to begin today (Wednesday) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Valencia are competing.

This year is the first of the revamped tournament, which was controversial for its move to Saudi Arabia — in addition to the host’s well-documented women’s rights issues, Spanish fans have not exactly snapped up tickets — long before Iran fired missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq overnight. We’ll get back to the recent military action and what impact it might have in a second, but for now, a bit more on the tourney.

This year’s four-team edition includes last year’s La Liga champ (Barcelona), last year’s Copa del Rey winner (Valencia) and the teams other than those two that finished highest in the La Liga standings in ’18-19 (Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid).

It just so happens that those are the four Spanish clubs remaining in the Champions League knockout stage. For more on Valencia-Real Madrid today and Barcelona-Atleti tomorrow, check out our preview from earlier this week.

Media reports about Supercopa in Saudi Arabia

Several Spanish newspapers have reported on whether this week’s games are in jeopardy. Spoiler alert: they don’t appear to be, for now, but given Saudi Arabia’s proximity to Iran and Iraq, the situation is obviously worth monitoring, to say the least. It’s also worth pointing out, even if it goes without saying, that this is a completely unpredictable situation, so everything stated here could be rendered outdated/inaccurate in a matter of minutes.

At any rate, below is a brief translated excerpt of one take from Spain’s El Español, which took a similar angle to many other Spanish papers this morning.

In an article headlined, “The Supercopa, in danger: Iran threatens Saudi Arabia after attacking US bases in Iraq,” the lede reads as follows, “Hours before the Supercopa begins in Saudi Arabia, the crisis between the US and Iran has generated uncertainty in the country.”

Most interestingly, later in the piece, author Fernando Navarro writes, with the most significant line in bold:

“The [four] teams are already in Saudi Arabia.

The incidents came before the Real Madrid-Valencia game scheduled for 8pm local time. It remains unclear whether the conflict will affect the Supercopa, as Donald Trump and his advisers are considering a response to the attacks. The Supercopa will not be in danger if the US does not react, as Iran announced at around 3 a.m. local time that it will cease the military offensive as long as Trump does not counter-attack.

My two cents (and I admit they’re worth even less than usual here): It’s doubtful the games are seriously impacted. But again, obviously it’s super fluid, and what happened last night wasn’t exactly expected either.

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