FC Barcelona to contest fines issued by UEFA for supporters’ Catalan independence flags

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Barcelona to contest UEFA fines for supporters´ flags

AT the annual general meeting of FC Barcelona on Sunday October 25 the club´s president said he would take UEFA to the European Court of Human Rights after the fines issued to Barcelona for fans showing Catalan independence flags.

The first fine was handed down to the club after the Barcelona Juventus final in the Champions League in June.  Barcelona were victorious in the game but were fined €30,000 by UEFA for the flags being displayed by fans in support of Catalan independence.

The latest fine of €40,000 came after a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen last month for supporters once more displaying similar flags.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu told the meeting that the governing body for European football had gone too far:

“We will appeal the sanction to UEFA´s appeals committee and if they don´t accept our case we will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.  If even there our case isn´t accepted we will go to the High Court of Switzerland and, if necessary, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.”

Having previously stated that the football club would be neutral in any debates on Catalan independence, Bartomeu said that the sanctions, “threaten one of the most basic rights of democracy. That of the freedom of expression.”

The UEFA stance is that any “messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature” are not allowed.

Bartomeu argued that the Catalan flags do not incite violence and told the AGM that “enough is enough.”

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