Sunday 1 October saw the scheduled Liga match between FC Barcelona and Las Palmas take place behind closed doors, a decision taken by the Catalan club with the backdrop of the regional independence referendum. There were reports right up to the final half hour leading up to kick off that the game may be postponed which would have cost Barça points but the change in decision will mean no punishment. Barça won the game 3-0.
The regional police had no doubts ahead of the fixture that they could ensure safety for all concerned and made this clear to LaLiga and the Spanish Federation (RFEF) when the suggestion came that the game may be called off due to the disturbances related to the controversial referendum. But it was the president of the club who came out to explain the decision.
No sanction for playing behind closed doors
In his statement Josep María Bartomeu said, “We talked to the executives, the coaches and the players and we decided to play, but behind closed doors, as a protest. The important thing was not to lose the points.”
Had the club chosen to postpone the game, the RFEF regulations clearly state that the game would have been marked as a 0-3 loss for the home side. As well as the three points lost, another three would have been docked as a punishment. By playing the game, but not allowing supporters to enter the Camp Nou stadium, the club face no penalty.
For Bartomeu the points, as well as making a point to the ‘whole world’, were most important.