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Scotland turn down Catalonia friendly

Scotland have turned down a chance to provide the opposition for the Catalan 'national team'.

Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez played for Catalonia in a friendly against Nigeria in January.
Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez played for Catalonia in a friendly against Nigeria in January.

A Catalonia selection play a friendly over the festive period each year, and they have taken on full international sides including Nigeria, Brazil and Argentina in recent years. A game against the Scots this year would have held particular relevance given that both Scotland and Catalonia are due to hold different ‘independence’ votes in 2014.

Confirming that Cape Verde would feature in this year’s game -- to be played on Dec. 30 in Barcelona’s Estadio Olimpico Lluis Companys -- the Federacion Catalana de Futbol (FCF) president Andreu Subies told La Xarxa that Scotland would not play in the fixture as their football authorities do not recognise the Catalan team as ‘official’.

“We contacted many different countries, but Scotland do not play against unrecognised national teams,” Subies said, as reported by Mundo Deportivo. “Scotland would never play against Catalonia.”

Scotland, although not yet an independent nation state, has played international football since it was involved in the first ever official international game against England in 1872. Playing a game over the Christmas period would be difficult, however, given the lack of a winter break in Scotland and England.

The issue of who can and who cannot play full competitive fixtures is of particular importance in Catalonia currently, with Gibraltar having taken part in its first ever official friendly last month -- a 0-0 draw with Slovakia in Portugal. The tiny British Overseas Territory became UEFA’s 54th member in May after years of Spanish opposition, and will now be in February’s draw for the next European Championship.

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