Barcelona v Las Palmas played behind closed doors after Catalan independence protests

1 October 2017, 14:26

Barcelona's home game against Las Palmas was played behind closed doors due to protests in the city over Catalonia's independence poll.

People in the northeastern Spanish region have turned out for an illegal referendum on splitting from Spain - but police drafted in from across the country have blocked off polling stations and seized ballot boxes

Police fired rubber bullets at crowds in Barcelona as violence erupted, with police vans driving through metal barriers as they cleared the road.

Reports surfaced on Sunday morning that the game would not go ahead and Barcelona supporters arrived at the Nou Camp only to find the gates closed.

Barcelona released a statement 26 minutes before kick-off confirming the game would start as planned, but fans would not be permitted entry after La Liga chiefs refused to postpone the game.

It read: "FC Barcelona condemns the events which have taken place in many parts of Catalonia today [Sunday] in order to prevent its citizens exercising their democratic right to free expression.

"Given the exceptional nature of events, the board of directors have decided the FC Barcelona first team game against Las Palmas will be played behind closed doors following the Professional Football League's refusal to postpone the game."

Earlier on Sunday, Barca defender Gerard Pique tweeted a picture of himself at a polling station. "I have already voted," he said on social media. "Together we are unstoppable defending democracy."

Las Palmas planned to play with an especially embroidered Spain flag on their shirts against, saying "we believe in the unity of Spain".

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