Carles Puyol to attend special Clasico screening for refugees in Greece
Ex-Barcelona captain and current La Liga ambassador Carles Puyol is to attend a screening of Sunday's Clasico for over 1,000 refugees in Greece.
La Liga leaders Real Madrid host second-placed Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend in what is world football's most watched domestic club fixture, with the Spanish league authorities claiming a potential TV audience of 650 million people in over 185 countries across the globe.
A La Liga statement said that it had worked with NGO (non-governmental organisation) groups dealing with the humanitarian situation on the ground in Greece to organise a "fun-filled" event with a "range of cultural and football-themed activities" laid on around a screening of the big game.
"Over 1,000 refugees are set to enjoy a special El Clasico event in Thessaloniki, Greece," the statement read. "#ElClasico will take pride of place on the television sets of millions of football fans across the world this coming Sunday. Far and wide, in all four corners of the planet, fans will be gripped by the excitement generated by the greatest footballing show on earth.
"One location where this will certainly be the case is the Greek city of Thessaloniki, where La Liga -- together with MEDIAPRO, who have dispatched a 50-strong team for the occasion -- will be running the Football Family Day alongside the NGOs InterVolve and Open Cultural Center. Refugees from the Nea Kavala, Sofitex, Oreokastro and Sinatex camps, as well as others living in apartments in urban areas in Thessaloniki, Polykastro and Kilkis, will have the chance to enjoy a very special, fun-filled day at Thessaloniki's Helexpo trade fair site.
"A party atmosphere will greet the attendees, young and old alike, with a whole range of cultural and football-themed activities set to be laid on from midday. La Liga president Javier Tebas will be joined by La Liga ambassador Carles Puyol and MEDIAPRO's Jaume Roures at the event, at which culture and the beautiful game will take centre stage."
Other big-screen #ElClasico events are taking place in New York, attended by La Liga's U.S. country manager Raul Gonzalez, and in the Angolan capital of Luanda.
The high profile fixture is often used to promote the league and Spanish football globally, as La Liga's corporate brand activation director Cristina Sanchez told ESPN FC before last December's 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan