New Delhi: FC Barcelona will wear the colours of the Catalan flag, the Senyera, when they welcome Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou later on Saturday. It will be the first time the team will be wearing the flag’s colours at home since the club was founded in 1899. In a time of heightened political tension, it may well be read as a political statement.
But the club, which sought the permission for the change of kit in June from la Liga's governing body, has clarified that “The Senyera shirt is not being worn because of the 11 September (National Day) – we are doing it to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the fall of Barcelona at the hands of the troops of Philip V and the French in 1714.”
On Thursday, hundreds of thousands of Catalans have flooded the streets of Barcelona in the region’s national day to demand the right to vote on independence from Spain. The Catalan government has already called a referendum on independence on 9 November. However, the answer from Madrid is that of a big 'No' and the move has already been declared an illegal one.
Politics aside, the Blaugrana joined Catalans in celebrating the National Day with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu heading a delegation at the traditional offering of flowers at the Rafael Casanovas Memorial. The function was attended by club's board members and captain Xavi Hernandez, besides players and coaches from other set-up.