FC Barcelona plays to empty stadium amid Catalan vote chaos

    Players of FC Barcelona and UD Las Palmas are seen during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Las Palmas at Camp Nou on October 1, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.

    Story highlights

    • Barça plays Las Palmas behind closed doors
    • Security fears over Catalan independence vote

    Barcelona (CNN)Barcelona's revered football club played a tense match behind closed doors on Sunday as Catalonia's disputed independence referendum descended into violence.

    Its famous slogan, "Mes que un club" -- more than a club -- was spelled out across the seats of the empty Camp Nou stadium as scenes of unrest unfolded across the region.
      After an emergency board meeting, the club said it had taken the decision to ban fans from the match against fellow Spanish La Liga club Las Palmas after the national league refused to postpone it.
      Las Palmas indicated that it opposed the breakup of Spain, sending its players onto the pitch with small Spanish flags sewn onto their jerseys.
      Barcelona's players took to the field wearing red and yellow shirts, the colors of Catalonia, before reverting to its normal strip for the match.
      The club said that the extraordinary events in Catalonia warranted a postponement, and having failed to secure one, the it decided to play in an empty stadium.
      "FC Barcelona condemns the events which have taken place in many parts of Catalonia today in order to prevent its citizens exercising their democratic right to free expression," the club said in a statement.
      "Given the exceptional nature of events, the Board of Directors have decided that the FC Barcelona first team game against Las Palmas will be played behind closed doors following the Professional Football League's refusal to postpone the game."
      Spectators queued to access the Camp Nou stadium ahead of the match, which was ultimately played with empty stands after violence erupted at polling stations.