Overshadowed by the unrest surrounding the controversial referendum in catalonia and a dispute over the scheduling of the game, FC barcelona continued its winning streak in the spanish league.
The catalans won 3-0 (0-0) in front of an empty crowd against UD las palmas and celebrated their seventh win in seven league games. The match took place without spectators after barca tried unsuccessfully to postpone the game due to the unrest and police violence surrounding the independence referendum.
"By playing in front of empty stands, the club is showing that we don’t agree with the game not being postponed," club president josep maria bartomeu said. The "whole world" should know "how we suffer here in catalonia," he said. The league had threatened the club with the deduction of six points, the game had not taken place for safety reasons without spectators.
After the match, two of the club’s top officials resigned in protest of the appointment. Vice president carles vilarrubi and the head of the medical department, jordi mones, had put their posts up for grabs, media reported, citing club sources. Both had reportedly been in favor of unilaterally canceling the match and accepting a points penalty despite opposition from the spanish football federation RFEF.
They wanted the club to take a clear stand against the brutal use of state police against voters and demonstrators by canceling the match. However, the club management decided to play the match in private.
According to media reports, there were also heated discussions among the players of the team around superstar lionel messi and german national goalkeeper marc-andre ter stegen. Defender gerard pique in particular was said to be in favor of not playing. "It was very difficult to play without our fans after everything that happened in catalonia today," pop queen shakira’s life partner said after the game under tranes. "It was my worst experience as a player."
The professionals warmed up in solidarity with the separatists in jerseys in the colors of the catalan flag. Messi wore an armband in the national colors of catalonia at the start of the match.
Thanks to the goals of sergio busquets (49.) and messi (70./77. Minute) barca won 3-0 and celebrated the seventh victory in the seventh league match. Ernesto valverde’s team leads the table after seven matches with a maximum of 21 points and is already seven points ahead of archrival real madrid. The royals won 2-0 (1-0) against espanyol barcelona in the evening with world champion toni kroos and achieved their fourth win of the season.
In catalonia, at least 465 citizens and twelve police officers were injured by the end of the day in a sometimes brutal police crackdown on voters and demonstrators, according to official reports. The regional government held the vote in defiance of a judicial ban and against the wishes of the central government in madrid.