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by Paul Sanderson Published 6 hours agoPolitics is something that affects us all; It decides who will be in charge of our country, our laws and our rights. Yet, when it enters the entertainment world, it’s often hard to determine fact from fiction.Take the recent Catalan independence referendum (as an example). The polling day became more widely known for the violence that ensued between police and voters, as the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy sent in the armed guard to disrupt proceedings. Tactics adopted by the armed guard were allegedly both violent and unprovoked.Despite the violent clashes and rising tensions, the scheduled match between league leaders Barcelona and Las Palmas went ahead. Prior to the match, Barcelona pleaded with the league to re-schedule, but the request was soon quashed and the club threatened with a loss should they not play the game. La Liga’s excuse? Don’t bring football into politics. With no other viable option, the club decided to play the game behind closed doors.Thousands of fans queued outside Camp Nou expecting to watch their beloved Barcelona but, this was not to be. Sky broadcasted the match live with 99,354 empty seats and the lack of atmosphere we’ve all come to know and love at the ground was noticeably absent. As someone who’s watched Barcelona over the years, it came as a shock when Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets opened the scoring and the roar of the crowd did not follow. Even when cult hero and five-time Ballon D’or winner Lionel Messi scored the lack of the crowd noise was quite extraordinary.The denial of the request to postpone the match and the decision to play behind closed doors created a lot of debate. However, one action by opposition Las Palmas caused a lot more controversy. Before the game, Gran Canaria-based club Las Palmas released a statement on their website revealing that they would make a special altercation to their kit especially for this match. On the day of a national independence referendum to leave Spain, Las Palmas stitched into their kit a Spanish flag. The decision sparked outrage with Catalonians as well as Las Palmas fans who labelled the club as ‘fascists’. The club’s catastrophic decision to do this also highlighted the hypocrisy of La Liga to sanction a clear political statement despite advising Barcelona not to bring politics into football. Therefore, suggesting where La Liga’s bias lies.Such actions can influence votes and although most would have been cast by the Catalonian people by the time the match was played, it is still possible that it influenced at least the way some people voted. In fact, the only a week before the referendum, a 60% victory for independence was predicted with the actual result being a much larger victory of 90%. Now you can’t deny that police brutality and rejection of the referendum would’ve played a huge part in the way people voted but with the huge influence football has, there’s no doubting that some influence will have come from the actions by La Liga.La Liga’s actions may have been a reaction to events in the reigion but their shirt breached this legislation of FIFA’s law of the game. Rule four refers to the use of political images or statements on football shirts “Equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.” Something that the English FA were punished for in December 2016. England wore poppies during games in the month of November to commemorate all of those who lost their lives during conflict abroad, this is despite warnings by FIFA that they would face punishment. As a result, England were fined £35,000.Should FIFA want to prove that they are fair in the face of a lot of controversy surrounding rigged bids for the World Cup and money laundering by former FIFA president Sep Blatter, they will follow suit by fining La Liga. However, it is highly likely that no action will be taken as FIFA do seem to prefer certain countries.The damage in all of this is extensive. It’s clear that the league has a political bias and with Barcelona or other clubs not speaking out about the issue, it’s possible that they will do it again. It also acts as a benchmark for other leagues to do the same. In years to come we could see the Scottish league actively seek to promote independence or the Premier League promote staying in the EU. Now that one league has pushed the boundary it’s very likely that it will be pushed even higher. Can you imagine your favourite team having a UKIP shirt sponsor?Mixing politics with football is clearly a recipe for disaster. Being the most viewed sport in the world, it is easy to spread views across a vast population. But, when that view is not unbiased then it turns into propaganda. As long as views aren’t balanced then a voter will never be given a fair judgement. Generally, football fans don’t want to hear about politics when they’re watching the beautiful game. Politics should be left to party conferences and debates where both sides of the argument can be heard. I understand it can be difficult to encourage an interest in politics, but, pushing political bias through sport is not the solution.

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