BARCELONA could choose to quit La Liga if there is full Catalonian independence, says their president – just days after a top official said the Premier League could be an option.
Catalonia yesterday voted in favour of independence from Spain in a controversial referendum.
The Spanish government insist the vote is illegal but there has been widespread condemnation of the violence that broke out between voters and police on Sunday.
Barcelona themselves chose to play their game against Las Palmas behind closed doors as a sign of support for the Catalan cause.
They had wanted to suspend the match but La Liga threatened to dock the club six points in the league.
Barca won the match 3-0 and sit top of the table.
But president Josep Bartomeu says the Nou Camp club are not guaranteed their La Liga status if secession from Spain is achieved.
“In case of independence, the board, which represents the partners, will assess what to do about it,” Bartomeu confirmed at a public meeting today.
“Yesterday we expressed a strong rejection and condemnation of the abusive and indiscriminate use of violence to avoid the right to vote of millions of citizens.
“We decided to take some action and we agreed that La Liga will accept our proposal.
“We finally decided to play behind closed doors as a sign of rejection.”
Bartomeu’s comments come after Catalonia’s sports minister hinted that the club could play in the Premier League if La Liga reject their registration following independence.
“In the case of independence, Catalan teams in La Liga – Barcelona, Espanyol and Girona – will have to decide where they want to play: in the Spanish league or a neighbouring country like Italy, France or the Premier League,” said Gerard Figueras.
“Now in Spain there 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.”
Barcelona and Real Madrid have dominated La Liga for more than a decade.
Were the former to exit the league it would likely leave Real and their city rivals Atletico Madrid free to battle it out for the title.
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s players have agreed to go on strike with much of the population in Spain on Tuesday in a sign of solidarity against how voters were treated during Sunday’s votes.
Security forces forcibly shut down polling stations across the Catalonia region and over 90 people were treated for injuries during a deal of unrest.