Skip to main content

The lesser-known football consequences of Catalan independence (7th October, 2017)

If Catalan independence becomes a reality, one of the more obvious consequences is that Catalonia may have to form their own league or join another league, such as the French footballing pyramid.

But that would mean chaos for two teams that very few have heard of.

On 29th August, 2012, Ildefons Lima rejected several offers from clubs in the first division of his home country, whilst accepting an offer made by a club in the fifth division of another country but based in his home country.

Yes, Lima, Andorra's captain, most-capped player, top scorer - and also a center back, rejected several offers in the Andorran first division, to accept an offer from a club in the Spanish fifth division (Primera Catalana) which is based in Andorra. The club? FC Andorra*.

The reason for doing so was simple - he was giving up higher wages but also a less competitive league. Which is why most players in the Andorra national football team are typically selected from FC Andorra - widely considered the biggest club in the country. The first football club to be founded in Andorra, it joined the categories of the Catalan Football Federation, contesting the Spanish League and Spanish Cup.

But what happens to FC Andorra if Catalonia becomes its own league? Would FC Andorra have to rejoin the Andorran national league? Would it go wherever Catalan teams go - plausible, since Catalan is the official language of Andorra?

What seems odd is that the only available option at the moment is also the most ridiculous logistically - a provision, carved out exclusively for Andorran teams (essentially for FC Andorra), which means staying part of the Spanish football pyramid**.

That is a worse situation that the case of UE Bossòst though. The Catalan club play in the French minor leagues.

Yes, you read that right. The club is admitted to the French competitions because of the geographical proximity. But more importantly, because of the ease of access, since before the opening of the Vielha tunnel, the county could be isolated by snow for up to six months. Those extreme conditions strengthened ties between the club and France, and in 1927 it was a Frenchman who founded the club.

The zinc mining community had a club founded by Manuel Huguet, a secretary at a local zinc mining company.

Location of the municipality of Bossòst with respect to the region of Valle de Arán

And despite the access to Catalonia improving, the club still is happy to play in France. Not just because of historical reasons too - it claims that it travels shorter distances within France (the Haute-Garonne district) than it would have to in the Lleida region.

This isn't even the first time that a club on the map above has played in the French leagues. AF Les played in the French football league system until the 2006-07 season, before switching to the Catalan league system.

If Catalonia does become independent, then who knows - UE Bossòst would have little issues maintaining links with the French league, and certainly would be welcome in the Catalan league too. The issue then becomes one of choice rather than circumstance.

Only time will tell, though, what will actually happen.

*Confused? Read more to get more confused. This team is called Andorra, and won no away games in the 1997-98 Segunda B in Group 3, and plays in Andorra la Vella, Andorra, which is different from the team called Andorra, which won no away games two years earlier in the same group, which plays in Andorra, Teruel, Aragon.

The first team is FC Andorra, which gained just seven points, including one win, all season, and Ildefons Lima was a part of that squad. The second team is called Andorra FC. The first never have seen the light of Segunda B ever again. The second saw it once, in 2011-12, and were actually relegated from the fourth tier of Spanish football for the first time in their history (since they were formed in 1957).

For the first time ever, both teams are in the fifth division of Spanish football.

**Things get even more confusing when you look at the state of the Andorran football league.

Andorra's teams don't have their own stadiums (except FC Encamp) - the Andorran Football Federation organizes first and second division matches in stadiums owned by the local federation. And the federation distributes the stadiums and fields for the training sessions for each team.

One of those stadiums is Centre Esportiu d'Alàs. With a 1,500 capacity, it is the largest stadium used by the Andorran leagues.

And this won't surprise you - it is located in Spain, about 15 kilometers by road from the Andorra-Spain border.  That's not nothing - another 15 kilometers down that road takes you to the capital (Andorra la Vella).


Popular posts from this blog

Non-league Incider: St Helens Town 3-0 Atherton Laburnum Rovers

Last game: 8th August: Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 East Thurrock United The previous day, I was blown away by my first ever football match experience. Dulwich Hamlet impressed me, but what impressed me more was the journey. The travel to the stadium was just as enjoyable as the football itself. I had caught the groundhopping bug. There were no games scheduled for the 9th of August. There was one, near Wigan, and all I had booked earlier was a refundable bus ticket from Manchester Airport leaving at quarter past midnight. I should have refunded it. This was a mistake. This whole day was a mistake. I was only slightly hungover from the previous night, but that was nothing compared to this feeling of loss - I couldn't handle the fact that there was a game happening. And I wasn't too far away. Just three hours and a bit. They'll fly by , I thought. I was in autopilot. Something within me made me get up, grab a bag, and get out the door. This wasn't me. I wasn't trave

Non-league Incider: Cray Valley Paper Mills 4-4 Punjab United Gravesend

Last game: 9th August: St Helens Town 3-0 Atherton Laburnum Rovers After ripping up my groundhopping calendar, mostly because I was determined to avoid overnight travel, and partly due to other commitments, there was a period of time where non-league football took a backseat. But that period did not last long. Because of course it didn't. Secretly, I'd loved travelling over ten hours back-and-forth to watch some 10th division football. And this was 9th division football in London. When I had gone to East Dulwich exactly a week back , I had commented on how the amount of graffiti struck me as I watched from on board a southeastern train. I was going the exact same way, but much further this time - then I had stopped at Denmark Hill, now I would have to go six stations further. The graffiti I had thought was so emblematic of south London quickly disappeared, as did the tall buildings desperately cluttered together. We, and by we I mean me, were going to the suburb

Who is Raúl Martín Presa, the Mickey Mouse? Part 1. (20th August, 2017)

José María Ruiz-Mateos was the head and main shareholder of Nueva Rumasa - the company that owned Rayo and other companies - mainly specializing in dairy products. (He wasn't the president of Rayo though - his wife, Teresa Rivero, was Rayo's president). In early 2011, the directors announced a debt of over 700 million euros, that it was on the verge of bankruptcy and that staff wouldn't be paid. And the players were visibly angry about it - captain Míchel assured the press that the club would continue fighting on the pitch, but the day after the announcement was made, six key players didn’t attend training. Veteran midfielder José María Movilla spoke on radio station SER about the situation, about the fact that he had only received seven of the last eighteen months of pay, about the fact that there were a few players who couldn't even afford car repairs. When Rayo Vallecano were about to earn promotion to La Liga despite all the odds - the players not being paid,