By Boluwatife Ezekiel Olaleye
Catalan La Liga sides Barcelona, Espanyol and Girona have made a deccision to partake in the general strike in Catalonia on Tuesday.
The strike, called by more than 40 unions and associations in the region under the umbrella organisation Table for Democracy, is due to Spanish police violently trying to prevent Catalans from voting in Sunday’s independence referendum, which was deemed illegal by the Spanish government.
More than 840 people needed medical assistance following violent charges by Spanish civil guard officers in ugly scenes as part of Spain’s deepest constitutional crisis for decades.
While many players from Barcelona’s first team will leave to join their national squads ahead of the upcoming international fixtures, the remaining players and club staff will not attend the training centre on Tuesday.
“FC Barcelona joins the country wide strike called for by the Table for Democracy and therefore the club will be closed tomorrow,” Barcelona tweeted on Monday.
“None of the professional teams or the youth teams at FC Barcelona will train tomorrow at the Ciutat Esportiva.”
There was an organised region-wide ‘standstill’ protest on Monday with workers across Catalonia stopping work for 15 minutes at midday, including employees at Barcelona club offices.
Espanyol and Girona, also based in Catalonia, released statements on Monday declaring their intentions to join the general strike as well.
In protest at the violent events on Sunday, Barcelona held their La Liga clash with Las Palmas behind closed doors, winning 3-0.
Meanwhile Barcelona and its members would have to decide which soccer league to play in if Catalonia gained independence from Spain, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Monday.
“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.
“We are going through difficult and complicated moments and with respect to what could happen in the future we will take it on with calm and wisdom.”
Catalan sports minister Gerard Figueras last week said Barcelona may be able to play in another country should the region achieve independence from Spain.
“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 (English) Premier League,” he said.