The Copa del Rey final and esteladas

Concepción Dancausa, the central government delegate in Madrid, has decided to ban esteladas unofficial flags representing Catalan Independence – from the Copa del Rey final. I am not an advocate of the estelada. I don’t find it pleasing to see them on display during Barcelona matches and sometimes it crosses my mind that they are opportunist and abusive. During the last presidential elections at the club Joan Laporta stood on a platform as a standard-bearer for Catalan independence and secured only a third of the vote. Not inconsiderable, but not a majority either. Even so, if a third of Barcelona fans take esteladas to games it gives the impression that the entire fan base are separatists and that is not the case.

Concepción Dancausa, and whoever advised her or gave her the order, has done this supposed third of Barcelona fans a favour. Looking at the laws governing sport in Spain, there is no article that prohibits esteladas. What the text does prohibit is expressions of racism, xenophobia and homophobia, but not separatism, which is the case that concerns us now. Why is it no included? Because the people that drew up the text never proposed that it should be. What cannot be justified now, however much the booing of the national anthem, the presence of [former ETA member and now secretary general of Basque separatist party Sortu] Arnaldo Otegui at matches and many other reproachable acts upset people, is to suddenly say that esteladas should be banned from the cup final.

The case is to go before a judge in Madrid. May La Magdalena guide him. The courts have for some time not taken the task of establishing liturgies for the Spanish nation seriously. And that is why we have come to this point: the broad smile of [former Catalan regional premier] Artur Mas on one side, and the untimely decision of Dancausa on the other. Maybe these matters produce an electoral yield for them. That’s what they’ll think anyway. I guess time will bring us all together in a place above these pockets of incomprehension created by people who are in places where they don’t deserve to be.