In light of Catalonia’s recent parliamentary elections, LFP’s president Javier Tebas Medrano made his opinion on the matter crystal clear with this tweet: “If Spain splits, so too does La Liga. Let’s hope we never reach that absurd situation.”
Si se rompe España, se rompe LaLiga. Esperemos no llegar nunca a ese absurdo.
— Javier Tebas Medrano (@Tebasjavier) September 20, 2015
What puts football ahead of any other sport in the game is the profound history which built its own fan bases and gave significant emotional to the beautiful game on a global scale. They say that “love’s opposite is not hate, but indifference”. This falls right beside the saying “there’s a fine line between love and hate”. In translation, if a club’s fans never had the opportunity to hate on other football teams, their love for their team would be minimal at most. The love for the beautiful game would’ve faded away had it not had rivalries’ competitions. There will never be Yin without Yang, as the indifferent will be out the circle of football lovers. It’s our intense passion for something that leads to our brutal hatred towards another.
Now having that in mind, the argument of having Barça outside the Spanish league is, like Tebas would describe, absurd. FC Barcelona’s is one La Liga’s biggest pillars in its foundation – and you can’t erase history. Barça won the first league tournament ever when it was founded back in 1929. In the modern era of football, the past quarter of a century was monstrously dominated by the Catalan club, winning 14 titles out of 25 as opposed to their arch rival’s six. Put in two more trebles – unachieved by no other Spanish club; a top scorer and assist maker in the form of a Barça legend, and you could already see how history will always be hauntingly present in the Spanish league.
So what if it did? What would the league look like without Barça in it?
Well, let’s start with the staggering financial gap that will separate Real Madrid and the rest of the teams. Competition will fall and the stars will stop coming in and out of the capital club with an easily predictable decrease in record-breaking signings. The best players in the world – and I’m not talking European elite level players, but historic poster boys that will be embedded in children’s minds forever – will no longer find the Spanish league so lucrative anymore. A rising star in Sevilla? A league top scorer in Bilbao? You already know who’ll sign him up in this Spanish monopoly before they hit their peak.
The world will no longer stop, as Jose Mourinho famously said, to watch El Clasico. The world’s biggest football game will no longer cause you overly-hyped stress that puts your nerves on the verge of exploding. No, no. None of that anymore. It will be a has-been. A series of games we watch from our rusty film strips to get nostalgic. The nation’s biggest game? Probably the Madrid derby. Watched by thousands instead of millions. And every time a Blaugrana league record is broken, it will be doubted, questioned and even put into hypothetical scenarios that includes the Catalan beasts. “What if they were still there?” will probably be a trending topic on Twitter.
La Liga will bleed horrifically. It will never reach the pedestal it currently lies on. So what about Barça then? What will happen to the Catalan giants if they leave La Liga without a return ticket.
They will surely suffer as well, but over scars rather than blood. Barça will be left vulnerable if it decides to create it’s own football league – even more so than La Liga. So although Barcelona has been carrying the independista campaign for a while now, it would stab itself in the heart if it ends up in a Catalan league, rich and on its own. Which is why it’ll never happen.
What will happen instead is that a multiple of league organisations will be lining up bidding for the Catalan club to join their league. France and Italy would geographically make the most sense to accept their bids. So which is it going to be? Join the Italians and enhance an already historic Serie A and increase it in value? Or give the French a proper powerhouse to bring up the challenge in Ligue 1 and increase the league’s reputation. The simple fact is, having Barça in any league in the world will only enhance that league in value and historic significance by two hundred percent. And no one, not even Tebas or Rajoy can do something about that.
So in a situation where one party loses for sure and the other has a much higher winner’s case, it would be pointless to fight it. Why fight a losing battle?
So no, Barça will never leave La Liga if Catalonia becomes independent. Instead, La Liga will keep FC Barcelona. If anything, La Liga will attract more attention than ever in a situation like this. With the state independent, Barça will be vilified all over Spain (except maybe the Basque area). The games will be ten times more intense, the fans will become more passionate and loud – something gravely missing in the Camp Nou. And el clásico? It would be a lot more than just a heated battle, probably a civil war’s embodiment of football. Spanish football will increase a rivalry that will be unmatched by no other, filled with intense passion and brutal hatred.
So no Javi, the absurdity would to even consider excluding Barça out of La Liga in the midst of its volcanic outbursts. The state’s independence – if it ever happens – will only spice things up.