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La Liga rights holders want Barcelona to stay regardless of Catalan vote

Barcelona's place in La Liga should not be affected by any moves toward Catalan independence, according to Jaume Roures of Mediapro, current international rights holders for the Spanish league.

With recent events having seriously focused minds on the possibility of Catalonia breaking away from Spain, the issue of where Catalan teams, including Barca's fellow Primera Division peers Espanyol and Girona, would then play their football has been hotly debated.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has said that these clubs would no longer be able to play in the Spanish league should a new independent Catalan state be established.

However Catalonia-based Roures told the World Football Summit in Madrid on Monday that the "love-hate relationship" between Barca and Real Madrid was one of the major driving forces that sold Spanish football around the world.

Lionel Messi
Barcelona played their recent La Liga game against Las Palmas in front of an empty stadium due to the Catalan referendum.

"This is an issue for the government to resolve," Roures said. "But like [Zinedine] Zidane I cannot conceive of the possibility of a Liga without Barcelona and Madrid, independently of what happens politically speaking.

"Barca and Madrid have a love-hate relationship. They need each other, they need La Liga and Spanish sports needs [their rivalry]. It would not be the same if there were no Clasicos, with the global repercussion of that game."

Real Madrid coach Zidane said last month that as a football fan he found it difficult to envision a La Liga without the 24 times Primera Division champions Barca.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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