Pique Issues Rallying Cry as Catalonia Prepares for D-Day

03 October, 2017, 03:54 | Author: Anita Tucker
  • Gerard Pique trains in a shirt bearing the colours of the Catalonian flag on Sunday

Playing Sunday's La Liga match against Las Palmas behind closed doors was a protest against violent clashes between police and activists in Catalonia rather than a security issue, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said.

Clashes involving riot police and protesters have taken place as voters in the region went to the polls in a referendum which Spain's national government has declared to be unconstitutional and illegal.

FC Barcelona had received numerous requests from supporters to postpone their game against Las Palmas and some reports in Spain suggest they applied for its cancellation to the Spanish League.

Barcelona made the closed-doors announcement with less than 30 minutes to kick off, with thousands of supporters already waiting outside the stadium.

"We have decided that instead of cancelling the game, which is what we wanted, we will play behind closed doors and we want to give our support to those who are suffering from the lack of freedom of expression,"Bartomeu said".

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On the field Barcelona changed into their standard kit before kick-off and subsequently dispatched Las Palmas without a huge degree of fuss.

Club bosses pleaded with La Liga to postpone the fixture but the association insisted on the game going ahead.

Las Palmas said the match had become more than a sporting event, especially because of the recent statements by Barcelona expressing its support for the referendum.

The Spanish giants will be keen to stretch their lead at the top by collecting three points when they face Las Palmas at Camp Nou on Sunday.

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Sturgeon says that "regardless of views on independence, we should all condemn the scenes being witnessed".

"In the case of independence, the club and the members would have to decide in which league we would play", Bartomeu told reporters after a board meeting.

"In Catalonia they have injured a lot of people, people who only went to schools to vote", said Guardiola, who also captained Barcelona during a stellar playing career.

"Today there will be a game of football played but it has nothing to do with normality". With the Spanish flag embroidered on our kit we want to vote unequivocally, in an imaginary consultation that nobody has summoned us to.

"It's unacceptable that people are not allowed to vote in a democratic country".

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