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FC Barcelona publicly supports Catalonia’s self-determination, following leading Catalan sportsmen

FC Barcelona has joined Catalonia’s National Alliance for Self-Determination, which groups together more than 3,000 organisations, such as chambers of commerce, employers’ associations, trade unions, political parties, NGOs, etc. The world famous sports club therefore backs Catalonia’s self-determination process and will participate in this group that works to push it forward. Furthermore, in the last few weeks leading Catalan sportsmen such as Xavi Hernández, Gerard Piqué, Pep Guardiola, Cesc Fàbregas, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Aleix Espargaró and Pol Espargaró have given their explicit support to Catalonia’s right to hold a self-determination vote to decide on its own political future, regardless of whether they would vote for independence or not. In fact, only Guardiola has openly backed independence, although none of the others have specified being against it.

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10 October 2014 08:13 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- FC Barcelona has joined Catalonia’s National Alliance for Self-Determination, which groups together more than 3,000 organisations, such as chambers of commerce, employers’ associations, trade unions, political parties, NGOs, etc. The world famous sports club therefore backs Catalonia’s self-determination process and will participate in this group that works to advance it. Furthermore, in the last few weeks leading Catalan sportsmen such as Xavi Hernández, Gerard Piqué, Pep Guardiola, Cesc Fàbregas, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Aleix Espargaró and Pol Espargaró have given their explicit support to Catalonia’s right to hold a self-determination vote to decide on its own political future, regardless of whether they would vote for independence or not. In fact, only Guardiola has openly backed independence, although none of the others have specified being against it.


FC Barcelona’s President, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has sent a letter to the Coordinator of the National Alliance for Self-Determination, Joan Rigol, in which he confirmed the club was joining this platform that bring together more than 3,000 organisations, mostly from civil society. FC Barcelona has confirmed the news through its website and has announced it had already implemented the National Alliance’s electronic registration. “Barça also signs for this goal of making Catalans able to decide on our own political future”, Bartomeu’s letter read.

The letter also points out that in the FC Barcelona’s Assembly held on the 5th October 2013, the sports club had already expressed their “unequivocal” support to Catalonia’s right to decide its own future. Back then, the club’s President, Sandro Rosell, stated: “We will always stand alongside our country and the will of our people. We defend the right to decide [Catalonia’s future] because it is part of the fundamental rights that all individuals and people must have”.

In the document sent to Rigol, Bartomeu emphasised that throughout this year, FC Barcelona has reiterated Rosell’s words on several occasions. However, despite the “solemn” statement made a year ago, in which they understood it was already quite clear, the club wanted to “reconfirm” its commitment to Catalonia’s self-determination by publicly joining the National Alliance. FC Barcelona also stressed in its website that each time that the current President, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has been asked about this issue, he has backed Catalonia’s right to self-determination.

Joan Rigol, who is a veteran and widely respected Christian-Democrat politician, answered the club’s letter and thanked them for their decision. Rigol, who was President of the Catalan Parliament between 1999 and 2003, stated that the fact it has joined the National Alliance “means Barça’s involvement with the interests and hopes of the large part of the Catalan society”. Furthermore, FC Barcelona’s “has shown” this involvement “throughout its history”, he concluded.

Catalan leading sportspeople back self-determination

Barça’s announcement follows a series of statements made by a wide range of elite sportsmen in the last few weeks. Since the last massive pro-independence demonstration held in Barcelona on the 11th of September, several world famous sportsmen from Catalonia have backed self-determination. That demonstration gathered 1.8 million people according to the Catalan Police and formed an 11km-long V-shape (for “Vote”, “Will” and Victory”, all of which start with a “V” in Catalan). Two Barça players participated in it: defender Gerard Piqué and midfielder Xavi Hernández. Piqué even posted a picture of himself and his son Milan – who he has with singer Shakira – attending the demonstration on his Twitter account. Xavi, who has been captain of Spain’s football team and is one of the greatest midfielders at world level, was more discrete about his participation in the V-shaped demonstration, although many people took him on picture. While Piqué was asked about his participation in a press conferenc0,e he then openly backed the 9th of November’s consultation vote.

Two FC Barcelona’s former players have also backed Catalonia’s right to self-determination. The first one is Pep Guardiola, a player in the 1990s and Barça’s first coach between 2008 and 2012. Guardiola, who is now Bayern Munich's coach, was the first leading sportsman to back self-determination, back in 2012. Furthermore, he has supported independence and has actively participated in awareness-raising campaigns. The last Barça football player to back the consultation vote was Cesc Fàbregas, who now plays for Chelsea.

However, besides football, other sportsmen have backed Catalonia’s right to decide on its own future. In the case of the Gasol basketball brothers, Chicago Bulls’ Pau Gasol and Memphis Grizzlies Marc Gasol, in an event held in Barcelona this summer they said that Catalans should be allowed to vote on their collective future. Furthermore, motorbike racers the Espargaró brothers have also supported this vote. Both Aleix and Pol Espargaró publicly declared this in respective interviews.

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  • A gigantic Catalan flag mosaic at Barça's Camp Nou stadium (by FC Barcelona)

  • A gigantic Catalan flag mosaic at Barça's Camp Nou stadium (by FC Barcelona)