Homage to Catalonia

2000px-Estelada_blava.svgA worrying, though not wholly unsurprising report, appeared on the BBC website today – taken from Spanish publication L’Esportiu.

An assistant referee was allegedly told to fix a forthcoming Barcelona match in favour of Barcelona’s opposition – the match in question is believed to be November’s El Clasico against Real Madrid.

(At this point it is worth noting these allegations are yet to be proven and La Liga president Javier Tebas has called them “a little implausible”.  For the sake of this post let’s assume they are true, this post therefore should be viewed as fiction.)

The ramifications could be huge for Spanish football, think the Calciopoli scandal in Italy back in 2006, if it transpires this kind of problem is rife in La Liga – but what if it isn’t?

Politics and football are intertwined in Spain and Barcelona’s rivalry with Real Madrid is about much more than the beautiful game – the history behind the fixture is probably deeper than any other derby in world football.

Barcelona seem to be getting a really rough ride at the moment when it comes to off-field issues, and if the assistant referee’s claims are proved to be true the troubles would have spread to the pitch -in El Clasico no less. To add to that, Barca stars Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano and Neymar have all recently been charged or accused with tax offences, and the club are under a transfer embargo regarding the way they recruit youth team players.  These events have all transpired in a relatively short time-frame.

It is all wildly speculative, but the timings of these attacks, at a time when the Catalan region is making a real push for independence as calls for a referendum grow, could be viewed as well orchestrated – be that by fate or by a physical entity.

Or not, as in this case as whoever plotted to have the Clasico fixed has seen this plan foiled, unless they have other officials who can be persuaded.

There is every chance each individual and the club are indeed guilty of these offences, but why is it only Barcelona who are being attacked? Are we to believe all goings on at the Bernebeu are fully above board and squeaky clean, or are Real (and other Spanish clubs) being handed a free pass while the authorities go after Barcelona?  Could this relentless attack from that appears to be coming from various assailants – namely the tax man, Fifa (who imposed their transfer embargo) and whoever told the official to fix the match – actually all be coming from the same source?

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