Saturday, December 29, 2007

About the Match in San Mamés

In just a few minutes the national teams representing Euskal Herria and Catalunya will appear on the field of Athletic de Bilbao's San Mamés stadium to play a friendly match as a means to call attention to their plea of official international recognition.

Here you have an article titled "Euskal Herria vs Catalonia" at a blog called "Football Articles":

Tomorrow evening will see Catalonia play the Basque Country, in San Mames, in a match that takes place between the sides over the Spanish Leagues Christmas off-season period. As always controversy has surrounded this game as both federations suggest that their 'national team' be given official status and recognised by FIFA as separate entities from the Spanish national side.

Previously the Basque country had always been known as Euskadi in such events. However, this time they are lining up under the name of Euskal Herria. The difference between these names is that Euskadi is solely the region of Northern Spain whilst Euskal Herria is suggesting that part of France and the region Navarra in Spain are also part of a 'Basque nation'. This change of name has angered the French Federation in particular.

Catalonia existed as a country before Spain came into existence. Within Spain exists regional identities and strong nationalistic movements for these regions to breakaway from Spain and exist as separate entities. Catalonia was a country with a proud sea heritage, even before the country of Spain was created. This only happened when the houses of Aragon and Castille came together after the marriage of Ferdinand II and Isabella I in 1469.

Both the Catalan and Basque football federations have been appealing to UEFA and FIFA for a number of years now - in the hope of gaining official status for their teams - in order for them to play in Euro Championships and World Cups. European football's governing body UEFA has delayed a controversial decision to grant membership to Gibraltar -- despite being ordered to do so by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The FEF (Spanish Federation) are getting really worried now - as if Gibraltar are granted membership - Catalonia and The Basque Country have made it clear they will push to even harder to be recognized by UEFA.

Gibraltar is a tiny place - if they are granted membership they will not compete at any serious level but with the Faroe Islands already there - whilst remaining attached to Denmark - it is hypocritical to deny them their right to take part. If the Spanish regions gained membership, you might find Corsica applying, and Russian Republics like Chechnya, Dagestan and North Ossetia aswell. However, Catalonia and Euskadi are pushing for a change in the Spanish Constitution - to have more of a federal system, whereas they would technically still remain as part of Spain, but they will be seen and recognized as independent states in their own right. - Some in Spain's ruling Socialist Government as well as the usual nationalist parties are in favour of it. Again though, despite the fact that Germany is a federated state you don't see the likes of Bavaria applying for their own team! Although this is different since Bavaria and other German states haven't got the independence movements that they have in Catalonia and Euskadi.

This internal regional conflict is often a reason given for the poor performances at major tournaments by the Spanish national side. However to use this as an excuse for the Spanish National sides' failures shouldn't it mean that Italy with Sicilia, Sardegna, the Mezzo Giorno and the North in permanent conflict that they too shouldn't win anything? Perhaps a Catalan is not as comfortable or less susceptible to giving his all for Spain and the regionalised side could go on and outperform the Spain side of present.


Just a comment to DF, Euskal Herria also existed as a country long before Spain came into existence, only that then it was called Navarre.

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