Catalan minister: Barca could join the Premier League

Joe Williams

Barcelona may have to play in Italy, France or the Premier League if Catalonia gains independence from Spain, according to Catalonia’s minister of sport Gerard Figueras.

Spain’s prime minister Mariano has insisted that Sunday’s referendum “won’t happen” after ballot boxes were seized by police and the vote was declared illegal by the Spanish government.

The BBC reports that close to 10 million ballot papers were impounded while 14 junior officials and associates were arrested and the website providing information to Catalans was shut down.

And, if Catalonia gains independence, Figueras suspects that Barcelona and other Catalan sides will have to choose whether to remain in the Spanish league or look to join a competition in another country.

“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 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.”

La Liga president Javier Tebas has insisted that if Catalonia forms a new country then Barcelona would not be able to compete in the Spanish league.

“In sport, it isn’t a la carte and things must be clearly stated,” Tebas said. “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.”