As tensions mount in Spain over an independence referendum that is to be held in Catalonia in the coming months, La Liga chief Javier Tebas made it clear that Barcelona and Espanyol would not be allowed to play in Spain if Catalonia did break away from Spain.
According to Tebas, the law will not permit a non-Spanish territory to participate in the Spanish La Liga indicating that the likes of Messi and Neymar could be left stranded in the wake of such a decision. However there is a precedence of non-Spanish territories participating in the La Liga as the law did make an allowance for the participation of Andorra in the Spanish league.
“If Catalonia became independent, taking into consideration the Sports Law that would be enforced by the rest of Spain, Barcelona wouldn’t be allowed to play.”
However the chief did suggest that a change in the Spanish law could allow Barcelona to compete with the likes of Real and Atletico Madrid as he conceded the fact that a La Liga without the presence of Barcelona would be extremely detrimental for Spanish football.
“There would have to be a change in the law made in the Spanish Parliament. Clearly if it happened then it would be detrimental for Spanish football to lose Barca.”
“I can’t imagine the LFP without Barca. In the same way as I can’t imagine Catalonia without Spain, I can’t see La Liga without Barca. Also if it did happen what would you call the league: the Spanish League or the Iberian League?”
Players from Barcelona such as Gerard Pique and Xavi have been vocal in their support for the referendum with former manager and player Pep Guardiola being a vocal agent for Catalonian independence.
Xavi believes that Catalonia are very much within their right to hold a referendum and expressed his complete support for the movement.
‘We have all the right in the world to vote. We need to vote, we need the people to show their opinions and I am in favour of the referendum obviously.”
Pique too has expressed his support for the movement and believes that though he has represented the Spanish national team for years, there is no clash of interest.
“I am Catalan and I wanted to take part in the rally. I went with friends to have a good time with the other 1.8 million that were there.”
“There is no need to doubt me. I have played for the national team for 11 years and it is something different to be in favour of a referendum which is democratic. People should have the right to vote and this has nothing to do with the other.”
FC Barcelona had always involved itself with the politics of the region and over the years has represented the hopes and aspirations of the local region. It now remains to be seen if the current Board decides to take an active part in the referendum or if it chooses to remain passive over an important issue that is sure to rough up a few feathers in Spain.
Also this particular issue could flare up in the wake of the upcoming El Clasico as Real Madrid and Barcelona have represented for years the political strife and differences of the region.