Barcelona game played without fans amid Catalonia vote

La Liga: High flying FC Barcelona meet Las Palmas in shadow of referendum

Outspoken central defender Gerard Pique joined the club this week in backing Catalonia's right to self-determination in the midst of Spanish government crackdowns on what it sees as an illegal vote that violates Spain's constitution.

While the Camp Nou doors remained shut a few hours before the kick-off, the Catalan Football Federation (FCF) had already cancelled all games in the fourth tier and regional and amateur games.

The La Liga clash between Barcelona and Las Palmas, set to take place at Camp Nou on Sunday, will be played behind closed doors as voters and police clash throughout the region.

"Given the exceptional nature of these events, the board of directors has decided that the first-team game against Las Palmas will be played behind closed doors, following the Professional Football League's refusal to postpone the game", Barcelona said in a statement.

Barcelona FC had released a statement last week supporting people, entities and institutions fighting for democracy and freedom of speech.

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Barcelona's opponents Las Palmas from the Canary Islands are wearing a specially-produced kit for the game featuring the date and a Spanish flag.

"The Catalan government have made a decision to celebrate a referendum against Spanish law, with all the worldwide exposure that events in the Camp Nou will have", continued Las Palmas' statement.

Barcelona had called for the match to be suspended amid unrest on the streets.

Barcelona's legendary player, Xavi, said: "What is happening in Barcelona is a disgrace".

"It is unacceptable that in a democratic country people can not vote", added Xavi.

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