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23 de juny 2017

Freedom of expression and the 2015 "Copa Del Rey" Final


In 2009, during the Spanish Football Cup Final ("Copa del Rey") between Football Club Barcelona and Athletic Club Bilbao, in Valencia, when the Spanish national anthem was played, a lot of supporters booed. Yet no spectators were punished, nor was any legal action taken against anyone.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYarjU0N4-s

In 2011, during the Spanish Football Cup Final ("Copa del Rey") between Football Club Barcelona and Real Madrid, when the Spanish national anthem was played, a lot of supporters booed. Yet no spectators were punished, nor was any legal action taken against anyone.
https://youtu.be/k7mLf87Asgs

In 2012, during the Spanish Football Cup Final ("Copa del Rey") between Football Club Barcelona and Athletic Club Bilbao, in Madrid, when the Spanish national anthem was played, a lot of supporters booed. Yet no spectators were punished, nor was any legal action taken against anyone.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzkO9JoX-Rw&t=10s

In 2013, during the Spanish Basketball Cup Final ("Copa del Rey") between València Basket and Barça Regal in Vitoria, when the Spanish national anthem was played, a lot of supporters booed. Yet no spectators were punished, nor was any legal action taken against anyone.
http://www.ara.cat/2013/02/10/esports/Vitoria-himne-Rei-xiulada-Barca-Valencia-basquet-Copa_del_Rei_863343660_16737755_987x555.jpg

In 2013, during the opening ceremony of the World Aquatics Championship in Barcelona, when the Spanish national anthem was played, a lot of supporters booed.  Yet no spectators were punished, nor was any legal action taken against anyone.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GMuH03q2XM

In 2014, during the Spanish Football Cup Final ("Copa del Rey") between Football Club Barcelona and Real Madrid, in Valencia, when the Spanish national anthem was played, a lot of supporters booed. Yet no spectators were punished, nor was any legal action taken against anyone.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6yTPyh8xZc

In 2015, during the Spanish Football Cup Final ("Copa del Rey") between Football Club Barcelona and Athletic Club Bilbao, in Barcelona, when the Spanish national anthem was played, a lot of supporters booed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r36eHW03l1s

In 2016, during the Spanish Football Cup Final ("Copa del Rey") between Football Club Barcelona and Sevilla, in Madrid, a lot of supporters booed. Yet no spectators were punished, nor was any legal action taken against anyone.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmawfzkPHEk

In 2017, during the Spanish Football Cup Final ("Copa del Rey") between Football Club Barcelona and Alavés, in Madrid, a lot of supporters booed. Yet no spectators were punished, nor was any legal action taken against anyone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nPCr8hvtpY


On just one of these occasions, legal action was taken, not against the whistles and boos, but against the presumed main author of a statement simply inviting supporters to whistle and boo, in a manifesto published barely 24 hours before the 2015 match on a digital news website: http://www.directe.cat/noticia/409407/apareix-el-manifest-per-la-xiulada-a-lhimne-espanyol-i-al-rei-felipe-de-borbon. Official statistics show that this digital newspaper had 29,929 visitors on the 29th, and 22,322 on the day of the match, many fewer than other digital sources of news such as ARA (140,407 and 114,537),  Vilaweb (107,723 and 93,855) or El Punt Avui (56,031 and 43.226). How many actually read the manifesto, and how many of those that read the manifesto actually went to the match, is impossible to say: but so is the impact of the manifesto, on the day, given that supporters had been booing the Spanish national anthem and the head of state for years, as we have seen.

Just 48 hours after the Cup Final the National Antiviolence Committee (sic) met, on June 2nd 2015, at the request of the primer minister (who had issued a communiqué during half-time saying the booing would be investigated. It met again on July 27th and decided to impose fines: €100,000 for Catalunya Acció, €90,000 for its chair, Santiago Espot; and €70,000 which each of the other ten NGOs that signed the manifesto. 

On October 26 2015, we read that a Spanish nationalist association "'Manos Limpias" had sued F.C. Barcelona, Athletic Club de Bilbao and the 12 NGOs that had signed the "Manifest per la xiulada a l'himne espanyol i al Rei Felipe de Borbón", and that a Barcelona court had accepted the case.

The public prosecutor and an ultra-Nationalist party, Vox, also sued, and the case was passed to the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid, which initially closed it, in February 2016, given that it had regarded whistling and booing at the 2009 Cup Final as legitimate within the freedom of expression, in a previous ruling:

"Y desde luego, la colocación de pancartas sin contenido ilícito y el silbar la presencia de un personaje público no puede considerarse difamatorio, injurioso o calumnioso, ni mucho menos que propugne el odio nacional o ultraje a la Nación."

Nevertheless, the case was later reopened following an appeal by the public prosecutor.

I explained the state of affairs in a November 2016 article, including the €1 million plus fines, which have been in abeyance pending the result of the court case. Since that article Sr. Espot has again been to the Madrid "Audiencia Nacional" court, and very recently the judge has said that unless the public prosecutor decided to withdraw the charges, the trial will go ahaead, probably shortly after the October 1st referendum on independence.



See also:

"Whistle... at your peril".
http://catalanmonitor.com/2016/11/08/whistle-at-your-peril/

"UEFA"
http://estudiscatalans.blogspot.com/2015/10/uefa.html
describing fines of over €1 million (1,000,000) for a manifesto published two days before the match on an obscure website calling for supporters to boo the national anthem in protest against Spain's failure to respect the Catalans' right to decide Catalonia's future; and UEFA fines for supporting flying the pro-indy flag.

Un repaso a las pitadas de las hinchadas al himno en las siete últimas finales de la Copa del Rey que ha jugado el Barcelona, la última de ellas contra el Alavés. http://cort.as/xF5W

Viquipedia: Xiulada a l'himne d'Espanya.
https://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiulada_a_l%27himne_d%27Espanya
 

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