Secretary of State for Sport Miguel Cardenal can’t envisage Barcelona playing in France’s Ligue 1 after comments from the French Prime Minister.
Barca-born and supporting Manuel Valls told a French magazine that he could see La Blaugrana joining the French system if Catalonia won its independence, pointing to Monaco’s presence in Ligue 1, but Cardenal told AS it’s not likely to happen.
“I don’t think that’s what Valls said, because the opinions of government are irrelevant at this point,” he began.
“We have to respect the autonomy of sport and the competitions are organised not by government but by the Federations. It’s been the tradition in Europe for over a century.
“Hypothetically? But that’s why the hypothesis is so absurd. The championships are organised to know who is the champion of the territory that gives its name to the competition.
“In Portugal they want to know who is the best of Portugal. In Italy, the best in Italy. And in France, the best in France.
“A few weeks ago, [Barca President Josep Maria] Bartomeu said, and I think in this case he is the spokesman for the majority of Barca’s members, that he wants to play in the Spanish League, adding that is where Barca have become great.
“He said he knew it is also the wish of all the Catalan teams. I concluded that this approach, voluntarily or not, implies a statement of deep Spanish-ness of Barca.
“And I’m sure that French teams want the clubs of their country to play the French championship, because it seems the only thing important is their nationality.
“It’s not something that depends on either the French government or the Spanish government. It’s the nature of sport, the logic of sport, and there are very few exceptions that prove the rule.
“It’s worth recalling that Mr. Valls’ counterpart in Monaco until recently had to have French nationality and today still requires the consultation of the French government on the candidates, which isn’t the same as the situation of Barcelona.
“We have a great relationship with the French government, which has helped us a lot. For example, to get horse racing in Spain again and reopen La Zarzuela, preventing the destruction of an economic sector and many families.”