Barcelona have been hit with a UEFA-imposed fine for displaying a politically driven message during their 3-1 win over Juventus in last season's Champions League final.
An Associated Press report (h/t Yahoo Sports) states Barca has been ordered to pay €30,000 after fans unfurled pro-Catalonia banners during May's final. The banners were calling for Catalan independence from Spain.
According to the report, "UEFA rules prohibit political, religious, and offensive banners and gestures at matches it organizes." It's a rule clearly designed to maintain some distance between sport and socio-political agendas.
Barcelona released a statement on the sanctions:
FC Barcelona respects UEFA’s decision that was relayed to the Club on Thursday in relation to the Champions League final in Berlin, however, it does not agree with that decision, especially in the light of the UEFA delegate’s description of the Barça members and fans’ behaviour as excellent, both before, during and after the game, as stated in their report.
With the aim of defending the rights of the Club and its members and while respecting current legislation, the Club’s legal services will consider the possibility of questioning the fine announced today, Thursday. Our conviction is that the rights of the Club and members are not incompatible with current legislation.
The club has long championed its Catalan roots with many homegrown stars emerging from its youth ranks. Players such Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta are prime examples from recent generations.
This incident is another one that's seen Barcelona fall foul of one of football's main governing bodies. The club is currently serving a FIFA-imposed transfer ban.