Barcelona could join Premier League if Catalonia gains independence

Barcelona could join Premier League if Catalonia gains independence
Source: dailyrecord.co.uk
Date: 29-09-2017 Time: 11:09:43:am

Catalan sports minister insists Barca, Espanyol and Girona will have to decide where they want to play after La Liga chief maintains they cannot be part of Spain's top flight if the region goes it alone.

Barcelona could end up plying their trade in the English Premier League if Catalonia wins independence, according to the region's sports minister.

The claim was made after La Liga president Javier Tebas insisted that Catalan clubs would not be allowed to play in Spain's top flight should the region vote to go it alone.

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Sunday's referendum has been declared illegal by the Spanish government and ballot boxes have been seized with prime minister Mariano insisting the referendum “won't happen”.

Catalan flag

There is strong support for independence among Catalonia's 7.5m population – including from Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola - but parties loyal to Spain are boycotting the vote.

Among the many uncertainties is what will happen to the region's football clubs, including Barca, if Catalonia becomes a new country.

Gerard Figueras, Catalonia's minister of sport, said: “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: Italy, France or the Premier League.

“Now in Spain there teams from other countries who play in national leagues: clubs from Andorra in football and basketball. Monaco plays 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.”

Spain have insisted Barcelona will not be allowed to play in La Liga if the illegal vote goes through.

La Liga president Javier Tebas said: “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."

Guardiola, who has played for Catalonia's representative side, has backed independence. Speaking at a rally in June, the Manchester City 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.”

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