Barcalona independance vote could push clubs into Euro super league

Dr Daniel Plumley comments featured in the Daily Star discussing the implications of the Catalan referendum on Barcelona FC and the Premier League.

Sports finance expert Dr Daniel Plumley has been quoted in the Daily Star commenting on how this weekend’s vote on the Catalan referendum and how independence could affect the Premier League.

Catalans go to the polls in a vote that would have potentially huge implications across Europe. Independence would be the equivalent of Scotland leaving the United Kingdom. It could also have huge implications for football.

FC Barcelona’s position would be very unclear if a “Yes” vote goes ahead and the club could be forced out of La Liga – Spain’s top footie league as a result.

If that happens, the club could use its political clout to call on the Premier League’s top six to join them in a European super league.

Javier Tebas, the president of Spain’s Professional Football League said: “Barcelona cannot choose where it plays if there is an independence process in Catalonia.”

But the prospect of Messi, Suarez and co playing in a Catalan league would seem absurd to many. Experts believe the club would lobby for the formation of a European super league – featuring the likes of Bayern Munich, AC Milan, PSG and some of the top Premier League clubs – to create a more financially viable alternative.

There is a scenario where Barcelona could be forced out of La Liga. But from a sporting perspective, it would be detrimental to the Spanish league, Barcelona and even Real Madrid if they weren’t in it. Taking El Classico away would be catastrophic sponsorship-wise and the market value of the league would drop.

That’s where the European super league talk comes in – a breakaway league where the sport’s elite from across Europe take each other on. – Dr Daniel Plumley, sport finance expert, Sheffield Hallam University

But the political implications of Catalonia voting for independence could be a trigger that makes pie in the sky discussions a reality.

It’s credible in some ways. You can see why they want to do it. I don’t think it’s ever really been off the table when you look at how much money these clubs have within their leagues. When big changes come about in football it’s often because one drastic change sparks something else that’s revolutionary. We are talking about the 2nd or 3rd biggest club in the world in terms of revenue so it would be interesting to see where the follow-up goes. – Dr Daniel Plumley sport finance expert, Sheffield Hallam University

Another option is for Barcelona to carry on playing in La Liga in the same way independent Monaco still play in the French league.

“I cannot imagine the Spanish Liga without Barcelona,” said Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.

“I just can’t see it as a fan of football and of sport in general.”

This story originally appeared in the Daily Star 1 October 2017

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