Joan Laporta Former president open to Barcelona in Ligue 1

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and ex-club chief Joan Laporta believe Barcelona could play in Ligue 1 if Catalonia wins independence.

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Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta believes it is "not impossible" that the Spanish champions could play in France's Ligue 1 in the event of Catalan independence.

La Liga president Javier Tebas said last month that Barcelona would no longer be able to participate in the competition if the club's home region became an independent entity.

In September's regional elections in Catalonia, the pro-secessionist coalition won 48 per cent of the popular vote and hold a majority of seats in the regional parliament.

In an interview with newspaper Journal du Dimanche, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls cited the example of the principality of Monaco playing in Ligue 1 as a precedent for Barcelona to do likewise.

Speaking to radio station RMC, Laporta agreed with this stance but cast doubt over whether La Liga would follow up its hardline stance and banish Barcelona, whose Clasico showdowns with Real Madrid have helped to establish the Spanish top flight as arguably the leading domestic football league in the world.

"Barca in Ligue 1? Firstly we would have to verify if the Spanish league doesn't want Barca," he said.

"In this case, Barca could play in foreign leagues. This is not impossible with an independent Catalonia - Barca could play in France or in another country."

Laporta added: "I do not think that Barca will leave La Liga. La Liga is a very interesting league and the Clasico has an important value.

"It is necessary that those who decide be very intelligent and look out for the general interest."

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