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Madrid’s President demands playing the Cup Final without an audience to avoid supporters booing Spanish anthem

Esperanza Aguirre, one of the main representative from Spanish Nationalism, has asked to postpone the game or playing it in an empty stadium in order to avoid supporters whistling and booing the Spanish National anthem and Prince Felipe, as was the case in 2009. This season’s Spanish Cup Final will be decided in Madrid between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club of Bilbao, a Catalan and a Basque team. Catalan politicians have criticised Aguirre for mixing football and politics. CiU and the PSC have coincided in pointing out that Aguirre is ready to talk about the Cup Final but not about Madrid’s public deficit deviation. Besides, an extreme-right demonstration in Madrid organised on the same day has been authorised.

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23 May 2012 08:31 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Esperanza Aguirre, President of Madrid\u2019s Regional Government and one of the main representatives of Spanish Nationalism, has caused controversy by asking to postpone the Spanish Cup Final or to play it in an empty stadium in order to avoid some supporters whistling and booing the Spanish National anthem and Prince Felipe (who will substitute his father \u2013King Juan Carlos- at the event). This season\u2019s Final is to be played on Friday in Atlético Madrid\u2019s stadium between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club of Bilbao. The Catalan and the Basque football teams will repeat the 2009 Spanish Cup Final, played at València\u2019s Mestalla. Three years ago, some Barça and Athletic supporters at Mestalla whistled when the King of Spain entered the stadium and the Spanish anthem was playing, and some others turned their backs. Esperanza Aguirre, who is the leader of the People\u2019s Party (PP) in Madrid, stated on Tuesday that \u201Cinsults to the flag, the anthem or the Head of State, which are a felony described in the Penal Code, cannot be tolerated\u201D. According to Aguirre, if supporters whistle once again, \u201Cthe match should be suspended\u201D and should take place \u201Canother day in an empty stadium\u201D. Aguirre has been joined in her demands by other representatives of Spanish Nationalism, such as Rosa Díez, the leader of the populist party \u2018Unión, Progreso y Democracia\u2019 (UPyD). In addition, on Tuesday, Madrid\u2019s Supreme Court dealt with an appeal by La Falange, Franco\u2019s Fascist party (which is legal is Spain), and has authorised an extreme-right demonstration in Madrid coinciding with the final. In Catalonia, Aguirre\u2019s words have caused general surprise. The two main political parties, the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), have both said that Aguirre was talking about the Final but she was not talking about the 2011 public deficit figures of the government she chairs, which are double the figures presented months ago. In addition, the platform supporting Catalonia\u2019s official sports team have said that they have not asked supporters to whistle when Spanish national anthem is played.


The platform supporting Catalan teams have asked for the recognition of other national selections within Spain, other than the Spanish, as is the case in the United Kingdom, where England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own selections. The platform said the vindication should be made in a peaceful and \u201Cpositive way\u201D, with chants and banners. In addition, they have asked for respect to any \u201Cnational symbol\u201D, being their own or someone else\u2019s.Catalan, Basque and Galician nationalist parties (BNG, ICV, ERC, CiU, and Amaiur) had also supported this vindication. Their aim is that the match against FC Barcelona and Atheltic Club becomes a \u201Csports party\u201D, \u201Csupporting the Catalan and Basque selections, and their international recognition\u201D.

Reactions within the PP

Aguirre\u2019s words have not been shared by other members of the People\u2019s Party. The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said that football and politics should not be mixed. Besides, Jesús Posada, the President of the Spanish Parliament, stated that if made in a peaceful all sorts of claims should be accepted, \u201Ceven the separatist\u201D.

Reactions from Catalan parties

Albert Soler, from the PSC, accused Aguirre of using the Spanish Cup Final as a scapegoat for its deficit. He also asked not to mix politics and football. Soler defended that \u201Ceverybody should be entitled to demonstrate \u201D.

Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, CiU\u2019s Spokesperson at the Spanish Parliament, stated that \u201Cit is out of place\u201D that \u201Ca Real Madrid hooligan\u201D talk about the Final, instead of taking care of her government\u2019s deficit. From the same coalition, Felip Puig, the Catalan Minsiter for Home Affairs, said that the match will be an occasion to \u201Cwitness a great pluri-national spectacle\u201D.

Joan Coscubiela, ICV\u2019s Spokesperson in the Spanish Parliament, accused Aguirre to be talking about the Final in order to avoid giving explanations about Bankia, which was built around Caja Madrid, controlled by Madrid\u2019s Regional Government.

Reaction from the Basque Independence Party

Mikel Errekondo, from the Left-Wing Basque Independence Party \u2018Amaiur\u2019, said that the Barça and Athletic supporters will express at the Final \u201Cwhatever they feel\u201D. In addition, he said that politicians will have to draw their own conclusions if something happens.

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  • Esperanza Aguirre visiting Lleida a few months ago (by O. Bosch)

  • Esperanza Aguirre visiting Lleida a few months ago (by O. Bosch)