Minister: Barcelona could join Premier League

Minister: Barcelona could join Prem League
© SilverHub
A Spanish sports minister claims that Barcelona could join the Premier League if Catalonia gains independence from Spain.

Spanish sports minister Gerard Figueras has claimed that Barcelona could theoretically join the Premier League should Catalonia gain independence from Spain.

The region intends to hold a referendum on whether to become independent tomorrow (October 1), despite the vote having been banned by the Spanish government and courts.

Should Catalonia one day succeed in gaining its independence, there will be question marks over whether clubs from the region - including Barcelona - will remain part of the Spanish football league system.

Figueras says that there is no reason why Barcelona could not leave La Liga and instead join the lucrative Premier League in England, pointing to Welsh sides such as Cardiff City and Swansea City already being part of the English system.

"In the case of independence, Catalan teams in La Liga – Barcelona, Espanyol and Girona – will have to decide where they want to play - in the Spanish league or a neighbouring country like Italy, France or the Premier League," he said.

"Now in Spain there teams from other countries who play in national leagues: clubs from Andorra in football and basketball.

"Monaco play in France, in England Welsh clubs. I don't think that UEFA has anything against seeing another club play in a different league from their country."

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is a vocal supporter of Catalan independence, while Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said that it is "important" that the Catalan people are given the chance to vote.

Sergi Roberto jostles with David Zurutuza during the La Liga game between Real Sociedad and Barcelona on April 9, 2016
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