La Liga unimaginable without Catalan clubs in it, president says

MADRID (AP) — The Spanish league would be unimaginable without Catalan clubs in it, La Liga's president said Thursday.

Javier Tebas has on several occasions warned of the consequences on the country's sports of Catalonia splitting from the rest of Spain.

"We all lose in a league without Catalan teams," Tebas said speaking after a general meeting at the league's headquarters in Madrid.

Catalans are due to vote Sunday in regional parliament elections that could push the well-off northeastern region further on a path toward independence from Spain, although the Madrid-based central government says it would be illegal.

Tebas has often said that a league that could not include clubs like Barcelona and Espanyol would "be absurd."

"Ours is a national league because it is for all of Spain," he said.

However, Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium has increasingly become a gathering place for Catalans harboring breakaway sentiments.

Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, who is still revered by many at the club, set an example when he became a member of the pro-independence movement "Together for Yes."

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