Javier Tebas, the President of the Spanish Football League (LFP), says that if the Catalan region of north-east Spain becomes independent from the rest of Spain then FC Barcelona and other Catalan clubs such as Girona and Espanyol would not be able to continue playing in the Spanish competition.
The Catalan regional assembly voted last week to press ahead with an independence referendum in the region on October 1, with the promise of declaring independence within 48 hours if the ‘yes’ vote wins, reports Xinhua news agency.
In return the Spanish Constitutional Court has decreed the referendum to be illegal, while Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to prevent the vote being held.
Meanwhile in declarations reported in the Spanish press on Saturday, Tebas has looked beyond the political ramifications to those affecting sport, especially Barcelona.
For a start Tebas said they would not alter the kickoff of Barcelona’s home game to Las Palmas, which is scheduled to be held on October 1.
“The referendum is illegal and so the game will be played at the time and day it has been programmed for. It is a normal match day,” he insisted, before looking at the wider implications of an independent Catalunya.
“If the process advances, which I hope it doesn’t, Catalan clubs will not be able to play in the Spanish league. I can’t understand Spain without Catalunya and for me Catalunya is a part of Spain,” he continued.
Tebas then assured that not playing in the Liga Santander and having to play in a Catalan competition would be a disaster for Barcelona.
“I am certain that the TV rights for a Catalan league would not give them as much money and they would no longer be a top club in Europe,” he warned.