LNTUP

Two Catalan independence platforms refused to attend Barcelona’s match against Olympiacos yesterday

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In the wake of the Catalan independence referendum, tensions have heightened between the Spanish government and the Catalan government.

Yesterday was another such occasion when two regional independence platforms, Omnium and ANC (also known as the Catalan National Assembly), rejected Barcelona’s invitation to attend the Champions League match against Olympiacos.

On Monday, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuxat, presidents of ANC and Omnium respectively, were sentenced to prison without bail on charges of sedition and are currently being investigated.

In response, Barcelona announced that they would unfurl a banner reading ‘Dialogue, respect, and sport’, before their match against the Greek team.

UEFA granted permission, however, it rejected the organisation’s appeal to include pictures of their leaders.

Hours before the match, the ANC issued a statement on Twitter, stating:

“We believe that the FC Barcelona’s message doesn’t represent the sentiment of the majority of the fans, that’s why we reject the invitation to the stadium,”

“Whoever believes in the ‘More than a club’ [Blaugrana motto] wouldn’t put that on a banner.”

Barcelona meanwhile, registered a comfortable 3-1 win over their Greek opposition in their first match at the Camp Nou since the October 1 referendum. Messi registered his 100th European goal while Gerard Piqué was sent off in the 42nd minute for a second yellow card, owing to a goal scored with his right hand. Dimitris Nikolaou gave Barcelona the unlikely lead in the 18th minute when he deflected a Gerard Deulofeu cross into his own net. Lucas Digne was the other scorer when Messi jabbed the ball across to the Frenchman in the 64th minute.