FC Barcelona- a beacon of Catalan culture and independentism.
Catalonia is currently living a difficult political fight with Spain in order to reach independence. There have been riots in Barcelona because of the imprisonment of their political leaders.
The most important game of the Spanish League, El Clasico, has been cancelled due to those riots and FC Barcelona’s women’s football team is currently on strike.
“FC Barcelona, during the whole of 20th century was in favor of democracy, when Spain was under a fascist regime.
“The club represents some political wishes, one of them being the Catalan independence”- said Xavier Ginesta, a catalan journalist.
But Barcelona isn’t the only football club in Catalonia, the second biggest one being RCD Espanyol. However, according to Ginesta, Espanyol doesn’t share the same nationalist feeling as Barcelona:
“The most important political difference between Espanyol and FC Barcelona is that Barcelona was always a place where during the dictatorship, Catalan culture could be shown. Espanyol never wanted to be linked with politics.
“At Espanyol it is more common to have fans with diverse political ideologies. In their stadium you can find Spanish flags, but in Nou Camp you won’t find them.”
One of the questions asked if Catalonia achieves independence is what happens to clubs like Barcelona and Espanyol. Do they keep playing in La Liga, or do they have to join any other league.
According to Ginesta, they would still be part of La Liga due to their importance to the competitiveness of the league.
“I’m sure Barcelona and Espanyol will ask to keep playing in the Spanish league.
“If Barcelona stops playing there the league’s competitiveness would drop, as well as the league’s revenue. We can’t forget that Barcelona is a club with about 300 million fans worldwide.
“It would be like Monaco in the french league.”