- Alex Caparros/Getty Images
Barcelona played their La Liga match against Las Palmas in an empty stadium on Sunday as the backdrop of the referendum on Catalonian independence loomed.
Barcelona made the announcement that doors would be closed for the match just minutes before kickoff, citing safety concerns, with thousands of fans already waiting outside Camp Nou Stadium.
In the statement released by the club, Barcelona criticized La Liga for refusing to allow the game to be postponed and denounced the actions of the Spanish police, who had clashed with citizens in the lead-up to the vote.
FC Barcelona condemns the events which have taken place in many parts of Catalonia today in order to prevent its citizens exercising their democratic right to free expression.
Given the exceptional nature of events, the Board of Directors have decided that the FC Barcelona first team game against Las Palmas will be played behind closed doors following the Professional Football League’s refusal to postpone the game.
The result was a surreal scene, as Lionel Messi and company took to the pitch in relative silence, as opposed to the usual roars of an adoring crowd.
Barcelona's anthem blares, teams come out pic.twitter.com/6jCeqWPXsJ
— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) October 1, 2017
tonight, Camp Nou will be silent as fans are NOT allowed in
Here's the Camp Nou: pic.twitter.com/MM0SRHQvto
— Barcelona Worldwide (@BarcaWorldwide) October 1, 2017
Barcelona won the game 3-0, as Messi netted two goals in the second half. After the match, Barcelona posted the word “Democracia” across their scoreboard.
— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) October 1, 2017
Barcelona will have two weeks off before their next fixture, when they will face fellow La Liga powerhouse Atlético Madrid on the road.