Barcelona won't leave Spain regardless of Catalonia situation - Bartomeu
BARCELONA -- Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has assured club members that there are no plans to leave La Liga, despite the current political situation in Catalonia.
The region's push for independence from Spain has raised questions about Barca's participation in the Spanish league, with the Catalan minister of sport, Gerard Figueras, suggesting they could be forced to take up residency in another country.
However, Bartomeu allayed those fears at the club's annual general meeting on Saturday, saying Barca's status in La Liga is guaranteed and that everyone benefits by things continuing as they are.
"You can be sure that this board will always act in the club's defence," he said. "We will never put the club nor its presence in any competition at risk.
"That's why, to all the club's members, I say that we want to continue playing in La Liga and, as of today, our participation [in La Liga] is guaranteed. It's mutually beneficial for La Liga and Barcelona for that link to continue."
La Liga president Javier Tebas has said Barca would not be allowed to continue in the case of an independent Catalonia, but Jaume Roures of Mediapro -- the current international rights holders for the Spanish league -- is not contemplating a division without the Blaugrana.
"I cannot conceive of the possibility of a Liga without Barcelona and [Real] Madrid, independently of what happens politically speaking," Roures said at the World Football Summit this week.
"Barca and Madrid have a love-hate relationship. They need each other, they need La Liga and Spanish sports needs [their rivalry]. It would not be the same if there were no Clasicos, with the global repercussion of that game."
Barca also confirmed their record revenue prediction of €897 million for the current campaign, with Bartomeu adding that talks are progressing well in the search for a sponsor for the Camp Nou.
The club have enlisted the help of North American company Van Wagner to help with negotiations and Bartomeu is hopeful of making a sizeable sum from a naming-rights deal as he looks to push the club towards €1 billion in revenue by 2021.
"We have to keep working hard to ensure we have the best installations in the world in the best city in the world," Bartomeu said.
"The renovation of Camp Nou is essential to achieve new income for the club. In that regard, negotiations to find a company to sponsor the stadium are going well.
"It looks like we will go above the level of income we had approved and during the first semester of next year we will call an extraordinary assembly [for members to vote on the naming rights]."
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.