“Empty stadium a powerful message”

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu believes staging their match with Las Palmas behind closed doors showed a powerful message to the world.

The Blaugrana had wished to postpone their clash with the Gran Canarian side on Sunday but were forced to go ahead with the game by La Liga.

“We decided we had to take a measure to display our indignation to the world,” Bartomeu told news reporters on Monday.

“There were a lot of issues at stake and we discussed this between different departments at the club, with the players, the coaches, the directors and executives.

“I finally came to the decision which was we should play game but to take the exceptional measure of playing it behind closed doors.

“We understand many of our fans and many of our members feel that we should have called off the game, which is why it was one of my most difficult decisions as president of the club.

“We did very seriously consider our option of postponing the game and we did request this from La Liga, who did not approve our request.

“So at that juncture I felt our best option was to play the match behind closed door because a totally empty Camp Nou – it was our way of showing our utter rejection of the exceptional and inadmissible situation going on in Catalonia.

“We know millions of people around the world watched the game with international media who then explained the unique situation at our stadium.”