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After the debate, a grand final awaits


In the end, there will be esteladas at the Copa del Rey final, for the simple reason that I laid out here yesterday: there is nothing in the laws governing Spanish sport that justifies prohibiting them. The article concerning banners and flags in sports stadiums refers to displays of racism, xenophobia and homophobia, and that is not the case with the estelada. I do not find it surprising that the justice system ruled in favour of the appellants. The sad thing is that the damage is already done; the soufflé that was sinking is on the rise again. Those seeking independence for Catalonia can now say that the same state they feel they have so been aggrieved by has now, via another surely independent power, ruled in their favour in a very swift period.

I don’t know if that will give cause to hope that they show greater consideration towards the primary symbols of the state – the king and the national anthem – that was displayed at the last cup final. Hopefully that will be the case. Hopefully the brute that sent an anonymous threat to central government delegate Concepción Dancausa will not be among the spectators in Madrid. During this whole affair I have admired the good sense of Sevilla president José Castro, who was clear about the issue from the outset. He is only concerned about the match, a cup final between two great sides, winners of the league and the Europa League respectively.

Good football washes everything away. In bullfighting the saying goes: “When the bull comes out, everybody sits down.” It signifies that when the animal enters the ring, all arguments end. I am now counting the minutes until the ball is rolled off the spot and the two sides are in action. Both arrive having celebrated recent success. Which of the two will be more satiated? Barcelona have more in their armoury, that is obvious. They have three extraordinary forwards. But Sevilla have strength and cohesion. At the Sánchez Pizjuán there is a lot of order and a lot of conviction that the club is on the right path. Sevilla go into the game with the drive of a decade spent reigniting hopeful anticipation on the basis of faith and trophies.


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