Fans warned about whistling Spain national anthem at Copa del Rey final

La Liga president Javier Tebas says this year's Copa del Rey final should be abandoned if Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao fans whistle Spain's national anthem when it is played before kickoff.

The Catalan and Basque sides met in the 2012 decider, which is remembered by some for Spain's then king Juan Carlos and the anthem being drowned out by loud whistles from both sets of fans.

Such behaviour does not go down at all well with many politicians in the Spanish capital, and the Partido Popular candidate for mayor of Madrid this week wrote that teams who showed such "hate" should not take part in the Copa at all.

Tebas, who earlier in his career was associated with nationalist party Fuerza Nueva, told AS that he would personally suspend this year's game on Saturday, May 30 should the anthem be whistled, although the call would be with the Spanish federation as they organise the competition.

"If there are whistles, I would suspend the Copa final," Tebas, a lawyer by trade, said. "The hymn is one of the symbols of the competition's final. Although it is not a competition we organise, the LFP is very concerned and we must not allow the anthem to be whistled. At least, from here we will work to minimise the situation."

In 2008, then-France president Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to immediately halt any game in which the Marsellaise was booed, as was happening at the time after Les Bleus' controversial early exit from that year's World Cup.

The likelihood of Barca and Athletic fans taking a chance to reject a symbol of centralist Spain is one of the apparent reasons why Real Madrid president Florentino Perez does not want his club's Estadio Santiago Bernabeu to host this year's Copa final.

Barca and Athletic have both indicated that the 81,000-seater Bernabeu would be an ideal neutral venue as it would allow the largest number of fans to attend. Madrid's ground was made unavailable that year in 2012, when the final was played at Atletico Madrid's Estadio Vicente Calderon, which is unavailable this year due to a concert appearance by band AC/DC.

Perez has said he has not turned down any request to host the game, as the protocol calls for clubs themselves to offer their home stadium to the federation as a potential venue.

Valencia's Mestalla and Real Betis' Estadio Benito Villamarin, in Seville, are reportedly the only grounds yet to be offered, ahead of a decision which federation president Angel Maria Villar said will be made in late March.

"The federation has always decided the Copa venue, and it will decide on the 25th," Villar said. "I believe this is more a media debate than anything to do with the federation. For the 26 years I have been president we have always made the decision, and this time too."