Barcelona, Las Palmas Will Play Behind Closed Doors Amid Catalonia Protests

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2017

Spanish riot police removes fences thrown by people to them as they try to prevent people from reaching a voting site at a school assigned to be a polling station by the Catalan government in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 1 Oct. 2017. Catalan pro-referendum supporters vowed Saturday to ignore a police ultimatum to leave the schools they are occupying to use in a vote seeking independence from Spain. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Felipe Dana/Associated Press

Barcelona's La Liga match against Las Palmas scheduled for Sunday will be played behind closed doors at the Camp Nou because of the controversial Catalan independence referendum and resulting violence.

Per Indy Football, it was initially reported the game would not be played, although conflicting reports kept emerging. After much confusion and with less than half an hour to go until kick-off, Barcelona announced the match would go on, albeit without fans present:

Football writer Sid Lowe heard from Barcelona management prior to the decision:

There was also confusion outside the stadium about whether the game had been cancelled or fans would be welcomed, per ESPN FC's Samuel Marsden:

Catalan officials organised a referendum regarding independence for Sunday, but the central government in Madrid did not recognise the move. Thousands went to vote, but the police tried to prevent locals from doing so, resulting in violence, per Patrick Greenfield of the Guardian.

Barcelona and Las Palmas were scheduled to begin play at 4:15 p.m. local time. Plenty of fans thought it would be better not to go through with the match, and the visitors put a target on their backs with a controversial choice of attire, via football writer Robin Bairner:

With reports of multiple injuries in the chaos on the streets, per Greenfield, moving the match to a later date seemed a logical decision. As reported by BBC Sport's James Badcock, the Blaugrana have taken a public stance in support of independence, and many of their players would have perhaps preferred not to suit up on Sunday.

Instead, the Catalans will face Las Palmas without the support of their fans, a decision that may add to the anger in the city.

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