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FC Barcelona gives official support to Catalonia self-determination

Barca are set to live up to their motto, "Mes que un club," by standing behind Catalonia's referendum for self-determination -- even if it means expulsion from La Liga.

David Ramos

FC Barcelona have publicly declared their support for Catalonia by signing on to the Catalan National Pact for Self-Determination, which is comprised of organizations and associations which "endorse the Catalan people's right to self-determination."

Barcelona, the second-largest city in Spain, is the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous community within the country. FC Barcelona, meanwhile, are the most popular club in the region as well as being one of Spain's mightiest teams. The Blaugrana are also one of the biggest clubs in the world, and as such, believe themselves to be one of Catalonia's greatest ambassadors. Barça embrace the Catalan language and culture, even if it may get them in trouble with the authorities -- as it did in the 1920s, when the club was suspended for six months.

This time, the consequences of supporting Catalonia could mean Barcelona pay an even heavier price: expulsion from La Liga. Should the region win its independence, the club will no longer be permitted to play within the Spanish league system. Barça have won 22 league titles, six in the last decade alone, and certainly help to sell Spanish football. La Liga would undoubtedly suffer if Barcelona were no longer included.

So, too, would Barcelona. Their local rivals are Espanyol, a side currently eighth in the league and who have never finished higher than third in the table. Barça's prestige could very well take a hit should Catalonia secede from Spain.

Yet it's tough to imagine that, should Catalonia vote in favor of independence, we'll be seeing a Barcelona-less La Liga any time soon. The vote will be held at November 9, but even a vote in favor is unlikely to carry much weight, as the government of Spain has not permitted this decision to even be made. There are likely to be many, many legal battles fought before Catalonia gets their independence, and even if such an event occurs, that will likely spawn other legal battles over whether Barça will be permitted to remain in La Liga.

The distant future could see both Spanish football and Barcelona itself in a bit of a conundrum. Yet in spite of the potential consequences, Barcelona are throwing their weight behind the referendum for self-determination. Considering the club's history and its desire to be "more than a club," the support comes as no surprise.