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Sport and politics collide

FOOTBALL and Catalan pride are strongly entwined at Barcelona, so last Sunday was always going to be an emotional day.

A Catalan independence referendum had been declared illegal by the Spanish Government, and a police clamp-down was in place.

Smack in the middle was the Barcelona v Las Palmas game, and the home club were trying to get it postponed.

But the Spanish FA were having nothing of it, and, amid fears of league punishments and docked points, the La Liga clash went ahead behind closed doors, but with full TV coverage.

It was a volatile situation and both teams stoked it up further. Barcelona came out for their warm-up wearing yellow-and-red-striped training tops, to mirror the Catalan independence flag.

Struggling Las Palmas hardly needed to rile their powerful hosts, yet they chose to adorn their team shirts with a Spanish flag as a sign of support for the state.

For the record (and future quiz questions) Barcelona won 3-0.

World football governing body FIFA, who have a strict policy of no political messages on players’ kit, have only just rescinded fines on England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales for wearing poppies to mark last year’s Remembrance Day.

That gesture has finally been ruled as a charitable display, rather than political. But should the Catalans ever get independence, sport will again find itself in the spotlight.

The Spanish FA have suggested that Catalan teams Girona, Espanyol, and Barcelona would not be able to compete in the Spanish leagues.

Football fans lost out last Sunday, and sorting out ticket refunds will be interesting, but do spare a thought for one Australian family.

The parents brought their Barcelona-mad son across the globe to see his heroes live, but the nearest they got was having photos taken of themselves, standing forlornly outside the locked gates of the Nou Camp stadium.

Short URL: http://www.canarianweekly.com/?p=38114

Posted by on Oct 6 2017. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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