Barcelona withdraws medals awarded to General Franco

Barcelona’s board of directors have agreed to annul distinctions granted to General Francisco Franco in 1971 and 1974.

In a separate development, the club have also insisted on asking for ‘politics and the dialogue’ to solve the conflict that exists in Catalonia and not ‘a trial’ like the one that begins this week to the main leaders for Catalan independence.

“This has been a historical demand of our members and we are very clear we must take this step,” club spokesman Josep Vives told the club congress, in quotes cited by El Mundo, in a decision which will need to be ratified by club members.

“The gold medal was given to General Franco in 1971 to commemorate the inauguration of the Palau Blaugrana and the second, in 1974, was a gold medal commemorating the platinum wedding of Barcelona.

“This was at the request of the authorities of the time, who obliged that all newly created honours should be granted to Franco and we had to invest some to give to the General – we cannot escape historical context.

“There are no minutes of the meetings which decided how the medals should be granted but the medals were given in a dictatorial context, so we must decide the reality.”

Vives also turned his attention to the current tentative political situation in Catalonia: “We consider the preventive detention of political prisoners who will be tried in Madrid as being unfair.

“The club is against preventive detention. Those of us who have experienced these events and participated are very clear on what happened. And that the solution must go through politics and dialogue, not a judicial process.

“The preventive detention of Sandro Rosell is also unfair. Like the one suffered by political prisoners who will be judged in Madrid.”

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