After all the drama of the past weeks with President Donald Trump and US football players, it may no longer seem all that odd to see sports getting political. Still, Barca’s strike may have caused some confusion to those who have heard about it, who may still be unaware of the reason for the soccer club’s strike.
On the 3rd of October 2017, none of Barca’s professional or youth teams trained in support of a Catalonia-wide strike in protest of the government’s attempts to stop the Catalan independence referendum on Sunday.
The club headquarters was also closed and some other Spanish soccer clubs also joined in other displays of activism against the government’s attempts to stop the referendum. For instance, Girona suspended practice, and Espanyol, the other Catalan club in the Spanish league, had its players undergo physical activities behind closed doors at its training camp.
Officials have said that more than 890 civilians and some 430 members of the police force were injured as attempts were made to stop the referendum with police firing rubber bullets to try and stop voters across the northeastern region.
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique trained with the National team on Monday and was severely insulted by fans for his support of an independent Catalonia.
He had cried on Sunday while talking about the confrontations between police and Catalan voters and tweeted again on Monday about the issue. He has said that he will leave the National team if his support for Catalan independence was a problem.
Even before Barca’s strike on Tuesday, the team was already expressing their displeasure by playing behind closed doors on Sunday for its match against Las Palmas.
Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu said the decision to close Camp Nou was one of the hardest he had to make at the club. He said in a news conference on Monday that “We knew that an empty Camp Nou would send a powerful message,” continuing;
“Everybody would be asking about what was happening in Catalonia. The game was broadcast around the world. It was an extraordinary measure for an extraordinary moment.”
Bartomeu avoided any talk of Barcelona’s future in the Spanish league if Catalonia declares independence but the league has already said it may no longer be able to accommodate Barcelona.