Sport

Barca match played behind closed doors

Barca match played behind closed doors”

"It saddens us and we are all affected by it", club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said.

"There was no reason for us to lose points, all our fans should appreciate that we showed our disagreement with what happened".

Barcelona beat Las Palmas 3-0, with a brace to Lionel Messi following Sergio Busquets' opener.

Spanish riot police on Sunday burst into polling stations across Catalonia to try to halt the referendum on a split from Spain and Catalan officials said more than 800 people were injured in the crackdown.

Barcelona had openly backed the referendum and criticised the Spanish government for trying to impede the vote.

Pique described the match, played in near-silence, as the "worst professional experience" of his career. "I am and I feel Catalan, and I've never felt prouder of the people of Catalonia".

"It was very odd, of course it's not normal but today's events overshadowed the game", Busquets said on playing behind closed doors.

Confusion reigned ahead of the game as it seemed it would be called off amid chaotic scenes around Catalonia.

Why are Real Madrid and Barcelona worlds apart?

According to Spanish reports, the usual pre-match meal between directors of the home and away clubs at the Nou Camp was cancelled, amid friction between the two camps.

Barcelona emerged to an empty stadium in yellow and red shirts, the colours of Catalonia, before changing to their standard blue and red home kit for kick-off.

During Franco's reign, regional languages and identities in Spain were frowned upon.

"FC Barcelona condemns the events which have taken place in many democratic parts of Catalonia today in order to prevent its citizens exercising their democratic right to free expression".

The fixture, which ended 3-0 in favour of the Blaugrana, was played behind closed doors despite Barcelona's attempts to have it postponed and this understandably caused uproar amongst fans. For Ayestaran, this was also a very hard afternoon but he can be pleased with the way his players responded to the issues around them.

Barcelona's Camp Nou, Europe's largest stadium, is often used as a rallying point for Catalan nationalists.

The club said that the extraordinary events in Catalonia warranted a postponement, and having failed to secure one, the it chose to play in an empty stadium.

Over 90 per cent of people have voted for a referendum as the region is on course to become independent. It said that by wearing the flag it was showing its unequivocal support for a "united Spain".

He said: "This situation does not exist so far".

The Catalan football federation cancelled all local games organised by the federation, a lot of them involving youth squads and lower divisions. "What is happening in Barcelona is a disgrace", he said.



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