La Liga President Javier Tebas believes Real Madrid are right to ban Barcelona fans bringing Estelada flags to Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
The Estelada flag, a symbol of support for Catalan independence, has been a hot issue after Barca were fined for their display during Champions League games, and Madrid won’t allow them to be flown in the Clasico either.
“Madrid are doing the right thing to ban Esteladas. Within your stadium you can determine if the greater good must be protected for the benefit of a particular good,” he told reports, according to AS.
“They’re right to remove the Estelada because it’s a security issue. I remember, I don’t know if it was last year or longer ago, a Madrid fan in Camp Nou in a Madrid shirt and it was an uncomfortable situation.
“It’s not ideal and we want to stop these things but it is a moment of special sensitivity.”
Tebas explained why La Liga wasn’t following the lead of UEFA and FIFA and punishing Barca for displaying the flag in League matches.
“As a League we don’t have the ability to sanction for political elements,” he clarified.
“It’s not in the disciplinary system of the [Spanish Football Federation]. UEFA didn’t want stadiums to be the place for political demonstrations.
“They made a judgement and Barca fight it. I don’t like the Estelada because it’s for independence. Barca is a social issue. For me it’s a debate, it’s political.”
The match is likely to be politically charged given Catalan independence is an issue in Spanish politics, but Tebas pointed to the England-France friendly, which saw players and fans join together after the Paris terror attacks, as an example of football rising above other issues.
“I envy how they sang La Marseillaise, respecting symbols everywhere,” he said after the England supporters joined in with the French national anthem.
“We’ve suffered terrorism of all colours and our security forces are experienced. We must be calm and confident in our security forces. That’s an advantage over other countries.”