Barcelona condemns acts against Catalonia independence vote

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona has criticized government acts against Catalonia’s right to hold a secession referendum next month.

The club released a statement Wednesday after national authorities intensified a crackdown on preparations for an Oct. 1 vote that Spain says is illegal.

Barcelona said it ”condemns any act that may impede the free exercise of these rights.”

”(The club) will continue to support the will of the majority of Catalan people, and will do so in a civil, peaceful, and exemplary way,” Barcelona said.

Spanish police reportedly arrested at least 12 people in raids on Catalan government offices. It was the first time Spanish authorities detained Catalan officials since the campaign for a secession vote in Catalonia began to gather momentum in 2011.

Earlier this year, Barcelona joined the ”National Pact for the Referendum,” a civil society initiative supporting the vote by the wealthy northeastern region.

Separatists have used Barcelona’s Camp Nou Stadium as a rallying point for several years, with pro-independence chants regularly heard at matches.

The Spanish soccer league recently said it was worried about the future of Barcelona if Catalonia unilaterally declared independence.

League president Javier Tebas said that a deal to keep Barcelona and other Catalan clubs in the league would not be as simple as most people may think. He said the teams would be stuck playing in a Catalan league which ”wouldn’t be much better than the Dutch league or something like that.”