Barcelona could become the new team to come and play in the Premier League if Sunday’s referendum on Catalan independence is passed according to the region’s sports minister.
Mirror Sport have reported that the Spanish government has declared the vote illegal and police have seized ballot boxes. Spain’s prime minister Mariano has insisted the referendum “won’t happen”.
The clamour for Catalonia independence has gotten strong support among the 7.5m population people of Catalonia, with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola giving a nod for the independence.
Though there are also feelings that parties loyal to Spain are boycotting the vote.
Uncertainty looms as to what would happen to clubs such as FC Barcelona, Espanyol and Girona who are from the region but Catalonia sport minister Gerard Figueras said:“In the case of independence, Catalan teams in La Liga will have to decide where they want to play: in the Spanish league or neighbouring countries like Italy, France or the Premier League.
“Today in Spain, there are teams from other countries who play in national leagues: clubs from Andorra in football and basketball. Monaco play in France, in England Welsh clubs. I don’t think that UEFA has anything against seeing another club play in a different league from their country.”
Further report from sources are confirming that Spain have insisted Barcelona will not be allowed to play in La Liga if the illegal vote goes through.
President of La Liga Javier Tebas who reacted to the ongoing incident was reported to say: “In sport, it isn’t a la carte and things must be clearly stated. It isn’t easy to have an agreement and study Spanish legislation but if they (Catalan clubs) do get that, then they will not be able to play in Spain’s La Liga, but I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who has played for Catalonia’s representative side, has backed independence. Speaking at a rally sometime in June, the former Barcelona manager said: “We have no other option but to vote. We call on the international community to support us and on democrats the world over to help us to defend the rights that are threatened in Catalunya, such as the right of freedom of expression and the right to vote.”
A recent statement from Barcelona said: “FC Barcelona, in holding the utmost respect for its diverse body of members, will continue to support the will of the majority of Catalan people, and will do so in a civil, peaceful, and exemplary way.”