Barcelona would not be allowed to play in La Liga if Catalonia broke away from Spain, the president of the Liga de Fútbol Profesional, Javier Tebas, said.
Tebas was speaking ahead of a proposed independence referendum for the region scheduled for next month.
The club’s hierarchy has refused to be drawn on the debate taking place over whether to hold an independence referendum on 9 November.
In the event that Catalonia became independent, La Liga would be severely depleted, while for a club of Barcelona’s stature, the prospect of playing against Espanyol and a series of minor teams would hold little appeal.
“If Catalonia became independent, taking into consideration the Sports Law that would be enforced by the rest of Spain, Barcelona wouldn’t be allowed to play,” Tebas told a sports conference in Barcelona.
“There would have to be a change in the law made in the Spanish parliament. Clearly if it happened, then it would be detrimental for Spanish football to lose Barça who are an historic club.
“I can’t imagine the LFP without Barça. In the same way as I can’t imagine Catalonia without Spain, I can’t see La Liga without Barça. Also if it did happen what would you call the league: the Spanish League or the Iberian League?”
“There is some fear that things might change too much and we might lose the Barca-Real Madrid rivalry. We are telling people of course in the beginning this might be controversial, but after some years of independence it is clear that Catalonia will have what other countries have like Holland.”
Supporters of the former Barcelona president Joan Laporta are calling on the club to be more vocal in support of the referendum.
Laporta, who was president from 2003 to 2010, wanted the club to be at the vanguard of Catalonia’s thrust for independence.
The present board, though, aware of the potentially dire consequences of leaving La Liga, have been far less forthcoming.
“It is a sensitive subject and the club won’t get involved but the president is considering making a statement in the coming days,” said a Barça spokesman.
While the board remains silent for the time being, several Barcelona players, notably, Xavi and Gerard Piqué, have come out in support of a referendum.
“We have all the right in the world to vote,” Xavi said. “We need to vote, we need the people to show their opinions and I am in favour of the referendum obviously.”
He and Piqué have both represented Spain, but Pique insists that his support for a vote on independence in no way reflects a lack of commitment to the Spanish international shirt.
“I am Catalan and I wanted to take part in the rally,” Piqué said. “I went with friends to have a good time with the other 1.8 million that were there.
“There is no need to doubt me. I have played for the national team for 11 years and it is something different to be in favour of a referendum which is democratic. People should have the right to vote and this has nothing to do with the other.”