Police investigating Espanyol pitch invasion say Barça celebrations not 'excessive' 

Two People's Party candidates for local elections step down after involvement in post-match chaos

The RCDE Stadium, also known as Estadi Cornellà-El Prat
The RCDE Stadium, also known as Estadi Cornellà-El Prat / Fíguls, Laura
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

May 16, 2023 06:28 PM

May 16, 2023 06:41 PM

Police investigating the pitch invasion by RCD Espanyol fans following their defeat to FC Barcelona on Sunday said they "don't blame Barça for anything" and that their celebrations were not "excessive." 

As opposition supporters raced down from the stands, Barcelona's players had to scramble off the pitch minutes after sealing their first league title in four years with a 4-2 win at the home of their local rivals, who themselves are in grave danger of being relegated. 

Josep Saumell, the general coordinator of the sports unit at the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan police), told Catalan radio station RAC 1 that during the second half they received information about a possible pitch invasion, but said that it was "almost impossible to prevent." 

He said that police had coordinated with security teams at both football clubs and that Barcelona said themselves that celebrations would be "minimal, because they are aware of the situation." 

"I don't blame Barça for anything," Saumell said, adding that "if a group of 25 or 30 people decide, collectively, to suddenly run onto the pitch, it is almost impossible to stop them." 

PP election candidates involved step back 

Two of the individuals involved in the chaotic scenes following Barça's win were People's Party (PP) candidates at the upcoming local elections. Both have confirmed they will not take their positions if elected. 

Yago Darnell, who is not a party member but who nevertheless was named as the ninth candidate on the PP list of potential councilors in the town of Sant Joan Despí, was filmed punching and throwing a television camera to the ground after the local derby. 

Carlos Ferrer-Calbetó, number 11 on the PP's list for Cerdanyola del Vallès and, like Darnell, not a party member, was also filmed taking part in the pitch invasion. 

Darnell and Ferrer-Calbetó each presented a signed letter undertaking not to accept the role of councilor if they are elected, according to PP sources. 

The PP mayoral candidate for Barcelona, Daniel Sirera, distanced the party from the events and condemned the behavior of the erstwhile election candidates.  

Damaged camera 

The CEO of the company responsible for recording the match on behalf of La Liga said that the damaged camera cost between €40,000 and €50,000, and that the fan responsible "will have to pay for it," in an interview with RAC 1. 

Jaume Roures of Mediapro also warned those who invaded the pitch that "all the images from our 25 cameras are recorded" and "everyone has been filmed." 

Government condemns "shameful" events 

The Catalan government condemned those who took part in the pitch invasion and praised the club for collaborating fully with the police investigation. 

"The events are as shameful as they are worrying, and they should not have a place in the world of football or sport," spokesperson Patrícia Plaja said at her regular press conference following Tuesday's cabinet meeting. 

Those involved were "a minority" who do represent the fans, Plaja said. 

Once the police have gathered all available information about the events that took place, they will oversee any potential criminal charges while the interior ministry's General Directorate of Security Administration will decide whether to sanction the club, Plaja explained. 

Champions parade 

76,000 Barça fans lined the streets on Monday for a triumphant open top bus parade.

The men's and women's teams celebrated together after their league title successes.