Web capture of FC Barcelona official website
MADRID, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona issued a communique on Wednesday following the detention of 13 government officials by Spanish Civil Guards for their suspected role in helping organize the Catalan independence referendum scheduled for Oct. 1.
This vote has been declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court, which has instructed both Spanish and Catalan regional police to do everything possible to stop it being held.
Wednesday saw Civil Guardss raid several offices pertaining to the Catalan regional authority, including those of the Catalan economy department, while it has also been confirmed that the Spanish central government will take over the payment of the wages of Catalan civil servants from the regional authority.
Speaking in the Congress building in Madrid, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the actions were "in order to ensure the law was complied with."
FC Barcelona has long been a symbol of Catalan nationalism. But perhaps because it has supporters all over Spain, it has so far avoided taking sides in the conflict. However, Wednesday's communique was a show of support, if not for the independence movement, then at least for the right to vote.
"In the wake of the events that have transpired in recent days and, especially, today, with regard to the current political situation in Catalonia, FC Barcelona, in remaining faithful to its historic commitment to the defense of the nation, to democracy, to freedom of speech, and to self-determination, condemns any act that may impede the free exercise of these rights," said the club.
"Therefore, FC Barcelona publicly expresses its support for all people, entities, and institutions that work to guarantee these rights," reads the statement, adding that the club has the "utmost respect for its diverse body of members" and "will continue to support the will of the majority of Catalan people, and will do so in a civil, peaceful, and exemplary way."
Spanish Football League President Javier Tebas has commented on several occasions that if the Catalan region became independent from Spain, then FC Barcelona and other Catalan clubs, such as Espanyol, Girona, Gimnastic Tarragona and Reus, would no longer be able to compete in the Spanish league and would consequently lose both income and status.