Pep Guardiola has come out to dedicate his side’s 2-1 Champions League win over Napoli to two pro-Catalan independence leaders imprisoned since Monday in Madrid for charges of sedition.
Ex-Barcelona player and coach Guardiola, who has been readily involved in the political campaign for pro-Catalan independence, uttered words of support for Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, leaders of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural respectively.
Pep said “We have shown in Catalonia that citizenship is bigger than any ideas. Omnium and ANC have always acted with civility, expressing their ideas of what we want. Right now the situation is as it is and we hope they can be released soon because right now it feels as if we all were there.”
More than 200,000 people protested in Barcelona early this week and other demonstrations are expected across Catalonia this week.
La Liga president Javier Tebas, meanwhile, has warned of the negative financial impact that an independent Catalonia would have on Spain’s football leagues.
“La Liga would lose between 20 percent to 25 percent of its business volume if the Catalan clubs leave the tournament,” Tebas told El Pais. “We would have to renegotiate all the TV contracts and have a [top-flight] league of 17 teams [without Barcelona, Espanyol and Girona]. I hope this will not happen. I can’t imagine a league without Real Madrid and Barca [together].”
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