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Old 21st October 2015, 12:29   #1
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Default Barcelona will fight second Uefa fine for Catalonia independence flags

Barcelona will fight second Uefa fine for Catalonia independence flags

• Uefa imposes £30,000 fine for Champions League incident
• Barça will appeal against second fine in three months

Monday 19 October 2015 22.35 BST

Barcelona have vowed to use all legal means to fight a second fine imposed by Uefa after fans displayed pro-Catalan independence flags during September’s Champions League Group E match at home to Bayer Leverkusen.

Barça were already fined €30,000 (£22,000) by European football’s Swiss-based governing body in July after supporters waved the flags, known as Esteladas, and chanted pro-independence slogans at the Champions League final in Berlin.

Uefa’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body ruled the club had breached article 16 (2) (e) of the regulations, which prohibits “the use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature”.

Jordi Mestre, a Barça vice-president, said on Monday the club would appeal against the latest Uefa sanction of €40,000 and would take their legal fight to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if necessary.

“We will appeal to Uefa, to the court of arbitration for sport [Cas], if necessary to the ordinary Swiss courts and, if needed, we will go to Strasbourg,” Mestre said in Minsk, where Barça are preparing for Tuesday’s Champions League match against BATE Borisov.

“We will continue to defend the interests of the club and we’ll see what happens. We are not in the least happy,” he added. “We will follow the process set out by Uefa. We will not wage a war but defend the club’s interests. We will never allow a limit on people’s freedom of expression.”

Barça, whose motto is “more than a club”, has long been an outlet for fans who support Catalan independence from Spain to express their beliefs.

Supporters of the club were criticised by politicians from Spain’s ruling People’s Party after they whistled the national anthem at the King’s Cup final at the end of May.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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