la liga

The major questions that lie ahead for FC Barcelona in case Catalonia gains independence

La Liga president Javier Tebas has repeatedly insisted that Catalan teams would not be allowed to continue in the league after independence.

Catalonia’s drive for independence from Spain could have wide-reaching consequences for the region’s football clubs, including the world famous Barcelona.

Catalan leaders signed a declaration of independence from Spain on Tuesday but immediately put it on hold and called for talks with Madrid to resolve the country’s worst political crisis in decades.

Here, AFP Sports looks at what questions lie ahead for the clubs and the Spanish football authorities in the coming months:

Which clubs are affected?

As well as Barcelona, there are two other Catalan clubs – Espanyol and Girona – in La Liga and three more, including Barca’s B team in the second division.

Could Catalans continue in La Liga?

La Liga president Javier Tebas has repeatedly insisted that Catalan teams would not be allowed to continue in La Liga after independence.

“If the rebellion succeeds, we will work for a league without Barcelona,” Tebas told BeIN Sports Spain this week. Tebas’s reasoning is that Spain’s sports law only allows teams from Spain and Andorra to participate in Spanish leagues.

However, a change in legislation could allow Catalan teams to continue and many believe Tebas’s hardline stance could soften should independence be established, not least due to the economic blow that losing Barca could have for La Liga. “Barca-Real Madrid is a very attractive product. Trying to destroy that would be an error on the part of the government, La Liga or the Federation,” former Barca president and pro-independence campaigner Joan Laporta told a conference last month.

Will this season be completed?

A long road lies ahead for independence to succeed.

According to Alberto Palomar, a doctor of law at Madrid’s Carlos III University and expert in sports law, any transition towards independence would maintain Spanish law until the declaration of a new Catalan constitution.

“Whilst the [Catalan] federations are integrated, the teams can compete and players can represent Spain,” said Palomar. Even Tebas admitted last week he “didn’t think there would be an immediate rupture” that would prevent the current season from finishing.

Could Barca play in other leagues?

The examples of Monaco in Ligue 1 or Welsh side Swansea City in the Premier League have led to rumours Barca could turn to one of Europe’s other top leagues if they are shut out of La Liga.

However, the prospect of clubs in England or France voting for the inclusion of a powerhouse like Barca into their leagues remains a remote one.

“I don’t believe it is a scenario you can envisage in a realistic way,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told BeIN Sports this week.

Palomar also believes the process of gaining FIFA recognition for an independent Catalan federation could be a drawn out one like in the cases of Gibraltar or Kosovo, without which no agreements can be made to form cross-border leagues. Any Catalan league would also need Uefa recognition to gain entry to competitions such as the Champions League.

Faced with a series of unenticing options, Barca could also use their sporting and financial muscle to try and convince some of Europe’s other top clubs to form a breakaway league.

What would the economic impact be?

In an interview with AFP in 2015, Tebas described the Barca’s rivalry with Real Madrid as La Liga’s “crown jewels”.

El Clasico is regularly the most watched match around the world and a huge boost to La Liga’s near 1.8 billion euro ($2.1 billion) TV revenue for the 2016/17 season.

According to Jose María Gay de Liebana, professor of economics at Barcelona University, Barca’s departure would see a “minimum of 200 million euros” wiped off La Liga’s TV income.

For Barcelona, the impact could be even more drastic. The club announced last month they expect to make a record 897 million euros this season, nearly a quarter of which comes from La Liga TV deals.

“They wouldn’t be able to have world-leading figures,” added Gay de Liebana, of a squad currently boasting the likes of five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi. “They would become a medium-sized club.”

What are Barca’s contingency plans?

A powerful symbol of Catalonia around the world, Barca have tried to walk a political tightrope by coming out in favour of Catalonia’s right to self-determination, but stopping short of backing independence.

A Barca spokesperson told AFP the club would “consult its members” in the hypothetical case independence came to pass. However, they remain confident that “any league in Europe, including the Spanish league, would love to have a club like Barca taking part in it.”

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.


It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.