Why Barcelona vs. Las Palmas was played in an empty stadium with no fans Sunday

Barcelona's match on Sunday against Las Palmas, a 3-0 win, was played behind closed doors at the Camp Nou after violent clashes in the city during its Independence referendum vote.

Catalans are casting their independence votes against the wish of the Spanish government, as a long-term issue as to whether Catalunya should be separate from Spain rages on, as hundreds have been injured in the city. 

According to Marca, Barca had asked the Spanish federation to postpone the match as the Catalan federation has suspended all regional matches, but the team was threatened with a six-point penalty for not playing so the match indeed did go on. 

It looked like the match would be called off, but instead the match went on with no fans allowed to enter.

Fans or no fans, this game remained politically charged as Las Palmas released a statement earlier in the day saying it would wear jerseys with the Spanish flag -- which they indeed wore. Barcelona vice president Carles Vilarrubi reportedly resigned due to the decision to play the match.

This all comes as current Barca president Josep Bartomeu has received heavy criticism over various issues during his tenure, including the tax fraud case surrounding Neymar's signing and with club elections looming. The way things unfolded on Sunday figure to have an impact there as well. 

There was also a concern for player safety with reports of a planned pitch invasion as soon as the match was to get underway.  

Throughout the city of Barcelona on Sunday, there were violent clashes between Catalans and Spanish police. Social media reports captured police battles with civilians, with rubber bullets being fired into crowds According to AFP News Agency, at least 91 people were injured.

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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