Explained: Why Barcelona removed a Spain flag from the Camp Nou advertising boards during win over Atletico Madrid
- Liga leaders faced Rojiblancos
- Away supporter in the home end
- Fans & security teams intervened
WHAT HAPPENED? The Blaugrana hosted the Rojiblancos on Sunday in a heavyweight encounter played out on Catalan soil. Ferran Torres netted the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win for the hosts, but controversy was sparked away from the pitch as a Spanish national flag sporting the Atletico club crest – which had been hung over the advertising hoardings in the second tier – was forcibly removed.
Barca have now responded to the actions of supporters and security staff, who took action against an away supporter in the home end, and revealed why they were left with no choice but to step in and move a fan who was never escorted out of the arena.
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WHAT THEY SAID: A statement from the Liga giants reads: “Yesterday at the stadium there was an episode in which a couple of Atletico Madrid supporters, located in the second tier, covered Spotify's advertising with a Spanish flag with the team's crest. Faced with this situation, a private security intervention group was activated that went to the site to tell fans what the club's internal regulations were, which does not allow hanging flags or other elements that cover the stadium's advertising and that, therefore, it was necessary to withdraw.
"Before the private security service arrived at the scene, a local fan came down from a higher location and removed this flag, leaving it next to the aforementioned Atletico Madrid fan. The intervention group spoke with the Atletico fan and explained the regulations and asked him if he had had problems with any local fans. This follower, who had symptoms compatible with being under the influence of alcohol, stated that he did not have any, but that some local fans in the area had previously rebuked him.
AND WHAT'S MORE: The statement went on to say: "The fan told the security guards that he preferred to watch the game from another position, in a higher area of the same stand; he got up to relocate himself with his companion. Private security accompanied him, and in no case did they forcibly relocate him or expel him, facts completely contrary to a certain story that was established in some media and social networks, accompanied by images.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Barcelona's explanation continued: “The person in charge of Integrity and Security of La Liga received precise information about the event, when he called the person in charge of Security of FC Barcelona to find out about the situation experienced in the second tier. Additionally, the Atletico Madrid fan, accompanied by a woman - both Poles - voluntarily went to the Gol Nord to leave his team shirt and the flag he was wearing and returned with another piece of clothing to his original place, from where he ended up watching the game. FC Barcelona reminds all fans that it is not allowed to cover the stadium's advertising spaces with any sporting symbology, even if it is from the club itself, so it will intervene when a situation contrary to the norm occurs.”
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WHAT NEXT? Barca’s victory over Atletico has left them 11 points clear of Clasico rivals Real Madrid at the top of the Liga table with eight games left to take in.