Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has joined thousands of protesters in Barcelona to call for independence for the Spanish region of Catalonia, bbc.co.uk reports. He made a strong plea for voters to take part in an independence referendum scheduled for 1 October.
Mr. Guardiola issued a powerful call to arms for Catalonia’s independence referendum, urging the international community to support the Spanish region in defying “an authoritarian state” in Madrid.
"We will vote, even if the Spanish state doesn't want it," Guardiola told the crowd. "There is no other way." Surveys suggest Catalan voters would narrowly reject independence, though most favour holding a referendum.
On Friday, Catalonia regional government leader Carles Puigdemont decided to hold the vote later this year, in defiance of the government and contravening a ruling by Spain's Constitutional Court. It is not clear if the referendum will go ahead.
The former captain and coach of Barcelona made the unusual public appeal two days after the Catalan president announced an independence vote for October 1, a move that the Spanish government insists is illegal.
Ironically, secession would see Barcelona FC kicked out of the Spanish League, its president, Javier Tebas, has warned. With the BBC