Espanyol respects sentence of Spain’s Supreme Court

Espanyol have released a statement of political neutrality following the imprisonment of nine Catalan independence leaders.

The club has reiterated its status as a ‘purely sporting entity’ and has not commented on the decision, handed down by Spain’s Supreme Court on Monday although they have called for more political dialogue.

This statement contrasts with that of Barcelona, also released on Monday, which went much further – claiming that “jail is not the solution” for ending the region’s political crisis.

“The club is a purely sporting entity and, as such, does not represent the feelings, or the personal and individual positions of all its members, as it could not be otherwise,” read the club’s statement.

“We reiterate our respect for judicial decisions, just as we regret the suffering that, unfortunately, certain procedural situations may generate for individuals, their families or collective feelings.

“We encourage all public authorities to seek political and democratic solutions for this social crisis, for the way of dialogue and within the legal framework and the strictest respect for legality.”

It comes after Spain's Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition over their role in an independence referendum in 2017.

Oriol Junqueras – the former vice-president of Catalonia and the highest-ranking pro-independence leader on trial – was handed the longest sentence of 13 years for sedition and misuse of public funds.

The prosecution had sought up to 25 years in prison for Junqueras but he, alongside the eight others, were cleared of a more serious charge of rebellion.

Following the court's verdict, Catalan independence supporters marched in Barcelona displaying banners that read "free political prisoners" while urging others to "take to the streets".

Over the weekend, hundreds of protesters rallied in the city ahead of the verdicts being confirmed on Monday.