President of La Liga, Javier Tebas has discussed the possibility of Barcelona and Espanyol leaving the league if Catalonia gains Independence from Spain.
Last weekend in Spanish football saw disruption surrounding Barca’s home game with Las Palmas after various incidents in the Catalan capital following a referendum on an independence vote.
The 3-0 victory over the Gran Canarian side was eventually played behind closed doors after requests from Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu to postpone – were denied.
Plenty of speculation has since followed with media outlets in Spain and England drawing up options for the three Catalan La Liga sides should they be forced out of the league.
The Russian first division, Ligue 1 and a new Catalonian Lliga have been mentioned, whilst the Premier League has also been a far cry option.
Tebas, who has been fairly tight lipped on the situation thus far – spoke in an interview with Gol on Friday about various things, including his thoughts on the trio leaving Spain’s top flight.
“Independence before the end of the season? It’s a scenario that would have to be analysed legally,” the President of La Liga told Gol.
“I think it’s likely that the League campaign will be fulfilled, but I’m not fully certain.
“Of course, if that happens, I’ll immediately ask the Catalan clubs in La Liga for their opinions of what’s happening, their stances and what they think.
“I insist La Liga didn’t arise from a voluntary agreement between clubs but because [Spain’s] Sports Law says there must be a League made up of the professional clubs that play in state competitions, and this can only be contested by the teams assigned to the Spanish Football Federation.
“How would it affect independence? We’ll see what happens with the declaration of independence.
“If it happens, I’ll immediately branch out to the Catalan clubs in the League. There wouldn’t be an immediate break, but it lies with the Catalan Federation.
“If they support that position [of independence], they’d be outside of state competitions. Our obligation is to listen to them, but we must also comply with the legal regulations.
“No-one expected that this moment would come, but regulations must be fulfilled and enforced.
“I think the Catalan club will have to react. I understand freedom of expression, but democracy is for a reason and we have to comply with the laws.
“Here, the case is that the Catalan Federation wants to stay under the Spanish Federation.
“La Liga without Barca and Espanyol? I didn’t see it a few months ago, but unfortunately I do now.
“We’d lose value as a League, but we wouldn’t have much trouble recovering from it.
“Would players at Catalan clubs become free agents? That’s a labour-market issue, the theory that the Catalan Federation wouldn’t have to comply with FIFA and therefore would be out of the [transfer] market.
“It’s assumed that [Barca’s] players would become free agents, so it could be the case.
“Barca’s role in independence? I’m concerned about it. Having talked to directors from Barca and other Catalan clubs, they’re feeling the pressures of independence.
“There will be some that are pro-independence and others that want to continue with Spain.
“They know the risk they’re running and feel very pressured by the political landscape.”
Tebas then spoke about the growing whistles and jeers aimed at Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique, who was verbally attacked during the World Cup Qualifying win over Albania on Friday evening.
“Whistles at Pique? I’m more concerned about the whistles to the Spanish anthem than Pique
“He says he’s not pro-independence. The Spanish national team isn’t an all-star team, where the best are only called up because they have a feeling for the country and the ones that don’t aren’t.
“The Law itself says that a player who plays for the Spanish national team is representing Spain.”
Finally, he said that he did not know any situation claiming both Barca and Espanyol could quit the season before its end.
“Could Barca and Espanyol abandon La Liga this season? I don’t know. It’s like we’re in a game of chess. We’ll see what happens.
“We must wait to learn the position of the Catalan Federation. If they want to get out [of Spain], they’d be out of state competitions.”