Spain's anthem booed at the Copa del Rey final
The police confiscated yellow t-shirts with independence slogans and banners before the match
When FC Barcelona appeared in the Copa del Rey final (in English, the King's Cup) for the fifth consecutive year on Saturday night, the center of attention was something not only football. The rivalry between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC over the Cup trophy was not what filled the headline the previous weeks. It was rather the relationship between Catalonia and Spain. The wish of a Republic against the consolidated Monarchy. And if FC Barcelona's fan would boo the Spanish anthem or not. Or how loud they would whistle.
As always, the game was attended by the Spanish monarch, whom some Catalans do not favour and less after his comments after the independence referendum last October. As the tradition called for, right before the match began, coinciding with the king arriving to his box, the Spanish national anthem was played. In the recent years, Catalan fans have been whistling and booing throughout the Spanish national anthem. And tonight was no exception. Although the loudspeakers were at their maxims and Sevilla's fans sang along to counteract the booing, it was inevitable to notice the Barça supporters' whistling the anthem.
Before the game, at the entrances to the stadium Wanda Metropolitano, the police confiscated yellow t-shirts with independence slogans and banners reading "Free Political Prisoners" and "Now is the time" from FC Barcelona supporters, according to Catalunya Ràdio. Nevertheless, the Barça fans were allowed to enter both the Catalan flag 'la Senyera' and also the Catalan independence flag, the so-called ‘Estelada’. At the final last year, many Catalan independence flags were confiscated by the police before the game. And in the 2016-edition, authorities of the Autonomous Community of Madrid tried to ban the flag from the Cup final, but a judge ruled in favor of bringing the flag to the stadium.
A total of around 25,000 Barça fans went through the severe security measures set up for tonight's Cup final in Madrid, where a total of 3,200 agents between security and emergency staff are present around the stadium of Atlético Madrid.