El Centrocampista

Catalonia is not Spain – Barcelona set to reinforce their Catalan credentials?

There is a famous banner that is unfurled at the Camp Nou every now and then that proudly proclaims ‘Catalonia is not Spain’. 

In a week which saw rallies supporting Catalan independence, the region’s daily newspaper Sport has added fuel to the fire by claiming that FC Barcelona will run out next season wearing an away kit in the colours of the Catalan flag.

It is estimated that more than 1.5 million people brought the city to a standstill on Tuesday at a mass rally to try and demand independence for the Spanish region, something which latest figures indicate 46% of residents are in favor of.

While to scribe all the reasons as to why there is a long standing resentment towards the Madrid based central government would be near on impossible, ultimately there is the feeling that Catalans contribution to the state is unfairly high.

So with support for nationalism at an all-time high It seems then there has been no better time for kit manufacturers Nike to make amends for the ghastly green away kit that Barcelona currently don, and move back to its Catalan roots.

And although the Catalan flag has been present on the back of the shirt since Joan Laporta’s regime in 2003, next season will be the first time in 113 years that the famous Senyera will make up the entire shirt. Ignoring the fact that leaked pictures have only included three red bars, as opposed to four, the shirt is one that is bound to go down well with members of the autonomous region.

In fact according to Sport, the move will see Barcelona “reinforcing the sporting and sentimental ties that the majority of the population of the region shares”.

While the significance of the change in colours will probably go unnoticed amongst many of Barcelona’s worldwide fans, it refreshing that Barcelona who prides themselves on being ‘more than a club’ is going back to their roots.

It is a move that has already been popular in England recently with many manufacturers shunning modern designs and going back to basics. In this instance however, it isn’t just an aesthetically pleasing design, but more a political statement.

Yet for all the attention that the kit will undoubtedly bring, this isn’t the first time that the city of Barcelona has had a football team promoting the yellow and red of Catalunya.

Based in the Sant Andreu district of the City, UE Sant Andreu has had the colours on their home shirt since the inception of the club in 1925. Now playing in Group B of the Segunda Third Division, the club may not be the most recognizable but its commitment and proudness to be Catalan has always been promoted.

While it is important to note that Barcelona would not become the only team from Spain that supports its autonomous community – Athletic Club have their famous Basque-only policy while Valencia have a kit in the colours of their own Senyera Coronada – there is the growing feeling that the donning of a Catalan away kit may just be the start are a growing campaign within the halls of power at the Camp Nou.

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