Barcelona Could Enter Ligue 1 If Granted Catalan Independence, Says Manuel Valls
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has offered Barcelona the opportunity of transferring to Ligue 1 if Catalonia is granted independence from Spain and the club is no longer permitted to play in La Liga.
A referendum on Catalan independence has put Barca’s La Liga membership in serious doubt, but Barcelona supporter Valls told French newspaper Journal du Dimanche he’d welcome the Blaugrana to Ligue 1
“Monaco play in Ligue 1, so why not Barcelona? I’m a huge football fan, a Barca fan. They’re in my blood. France knows it and they ask me about it on the streets.”
Manager Luis Enrique’s side may not be allowed to join up with the French ranks without cost, however, as Critchley highlighted the €50 million payment made by Monaco in January 2014 to remain in Ligue 1.
That one-off sum permitted the tax-haven sovereign state to remain in the division while still being exempt from France’s tax laws, which may be considered a possible route for Barcelona.
The vote on Catalan independence is of course about far more than football, but it’s no surprise the community’s football club—arguably the biggest in the world—acts as something of a poster child for the cause.
Blaugrana fans incurred a €40,000 fine from UEFA for displaying Catalan flags in September’s Champions League fixture with Bayer Leverkusen. Vice-president Carles Vilarrubi described European football’s governing body as “monstrous” and “clueless” for their punishment, per ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan:
Spanish football has a lot to lose if Barcelona do end up leaving its ranks in search of alternative playing means, given their reputation as one of the sport’s biggest consistent draws.
In that eventuality, Madrid giants Real and Atletico would stick out as the two most competitive teams (based on recent seasons), while Ligue 1 would be gaining another powerhouse from the switch.
Paris Saint-Germain have dominated the domestic league in recent seasons and won three titles in succession, but perhaps Barca’s presence would make for more balance at the top.
Prime Minister Valls may not hold much actual sway in deciding whether the Catalan titans come to France, but he’s sure to aid the cause after professing his love for all things Blaugrana.[bleacherreport]