Barcelona remain neutral in Catalonia vote, says Josep Bartomeu

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has avoided all comment on Catalonia's push to vote on secession from the rest of Spain ahead of Sunday's elections.

Bartomeu signed the Catalan National Pact for Self -Determination last year, despite warnings that independence would mean the club's exclusion from La Liga. This week, however, he refused to take sides.

Catalans will vote in a referendum to choose a new regional government in what looms as a vote between those favouring independence and those backing the central government in Madrid.

"We are not discussing the campaign, we are on the outside and we have shown this above and beyond all," Bartomeu told Canal Plus.

Recently, both the president of the High Sports Council, Miguel Cardenal, as well as La Liga president Javier Tebas, commented that should Catalonia become independent from Spain, Barcelona could no longer play in the Spanish Primera Division.

Tebas said in a tweet: "If Spain is broken up, La Liga will be broken up. I hope it never gets to such absurdity."

The incumbent Catalan president, Artur Mas, has said he will declare unilateral independence if a pro-independence coalition win a majority of seats in the poll, which has been billed as a plebiscite.

Bartomeu said it was not proper for Barcelona to take sides in a political contest.

"I will not voice an opinion," he said. "Outside of the campaign we always have opinions, but right now the [political] parties are battling for votes and in those cases, Barca have always remained neutral.

"Barca has always demonstrated that we are not involved in election campaigns; we have always spoken about sport, we don't take part in campaigns. I understand the the politicians must, though. Barca are showing neutrality."