The independence process in Catalonia may results in the exclusion of FC Barcelona from “La Liga”
Lee en Español: ¿El final del súper clásico español?
On the first of October, the Catalans will vote in a no compulsory referendum stating whether or not they want to continue being part of Spain or become a new independent country. The Referendum is considered illegal by said nation and its judiciary system. However, if a majority of Catalans participate and vote in favor of independence, it will apply more pressure to the central Government.
If the Catalans decide to be an independent Republic, and achieve it, then they will separate themselves from all Spanish affairs, including soccer. The Real Federación Española de Fútbol just has an agreement with Andorra. Right now, the small country is the only one who can play in the Spanish federation. But if the Catalans clubs desire to continue being part of “La Liga”, or its divisions for that matter, they would have to negotiate with the Federation.
Gerard Esteva, chief of the Catalan Olympic Committee, assured that Barcelona "has the extreme fortune to choose where they want to play". He thinks that the Catalans clubs can play in the Spanish soccer league or the French, or any other, for that matter.
However, Javier Tebas, president of the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (Royal Spanish Football Federation), said that "I am amused of what the separatists say" and "we will see who are the most affected: the clubs in Catalonia (not only Barcelona) or the rest".
In “La Liga”, there are three Catalonian teams: FC Barcelona, RCD Espanyol, and Girona FC. According to the pay-TV rights of La Liga for the last year, Barcelona was the team who earned the most (around 149 million Euros) and Espanyol was twelve (around 49 million). The Spanish football earns 1.281 million Euros by pay-Tv rights.
Stay in the Spanish League
If there is an independence, the first option for all the Catalonian teams would be to continue playing in the Spanish soccer league. But, first, there must be a negotiation between both "countries".
Pros: Barcelona is one of the most important clubs and has one of the best players in history, Lionel Messi. Also, the "clásico" against Real Madrid is one of the most watched matches in the world; represents a substantial income for “La Liga”.
Cons: Spain not only has an independent movement in Catalonia. Regions like the Basque country and even Valencia, Navarra, Galicia, and the Canary Islands may also pursue independence in the near future.
Move to France
Pros: The second option is to enter in the French League. Geographically speaking, it’s the second best option. Ligue 1 is one of the 5 biggest leagues in Europe and France has a border with Catalonia. The option is possible because the French League already has an international team, the A.S. Monaco.
Cons: League 1 is not as important as the Spanish soccer league. The level of the competition may represent a step backwards to Barça, Espanyol, and Girona. Depending on the negotiation, the Catalonians clubs aren't sure that they will enter in the French first division.
Create the Catalonian League:
The last option is to create its own soccer league. Catalonia has several clubs and they compete against each other.
Pros: The Catalonians will decide how they want to conform their league. They will have total control of the pay-TV rights and the number of teams who can play.
Cons: This "new league" will be seen as having a lower level in comparison with the Spanish and French. Some important players may decide to go to another confederation. The Catalonian Federation will have to negotiate an entrance in the UEFA and search for a good quota in the international tournaments.
Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto