José Ramón Lete, the head of Spain’s ministry for sport (CSD) has asked that fans attending the Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Sevilla “do not mix sport with politics” and said “freedom of expression for symbols that unite all Spaniards should be respected”.
“At the CSD we respect freedom of expression. We also think that this freedom of expression, tolerance and respect should apply to all symbols that unite all Spaniards,” Lete said.
“We don’t like to mix sport with politics as this takes the attention away from what should be a celebration of Spanish football.
“Rules should be respected. And if the rules on anti-violence are broken then measures will be taken,” added Lete, who did not want to discuss whether the presence of Catalan independence flags will affect the atmosphere.
“The courts have spoken. What we want is for there to be a good game of football and that sport isn’t mixed with politics. It’s important that there is conciliation and everyone enjoys themselves."
Barcelona have asked that freedom of expression be respected in the game, while other sectors have asked the club to be sanctioned if supporters whistle the Spanish national anthem in the final.