2014 could potentially be a big year in Catalonian history. The region situated to the north east of Spain, could, dependant on political events, hold a referendum on independence from Spain - an event which could have huge repercussions within the region. A region passionate about their football.

For many years FC Barcelona has been the heartbeat of Catalonian football. Many elements of the club, support and encourage Catalonian pride. The Captain's armband coloured red and gold, the colours of Catalonia; the Estelada, the nation's flag waved proudly by fans during home matches, and even the stadium, the home of FC Barcelona, is shared with the Catalonian national team.

It won't come as a surprise, then, that the team sheet is flooded with players from 'Blaugrana' and also Espanyol, the other major Catalonian club.

The team, captained by Barca captain and legend Carlos Puyol can call upon the likes of Gerard Pique, Xavi and Joan Capdevilla, players that would strike fear into any opposition. The Catalan side currently takes part in exhibition matches, the latest of which ended in a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Nigeria.

So what would independence mean on the relevant national teams and would it be sustainable?

In terms of eligibility, you would have to look back at previous cases to determine the course of action. Gone are the days of Puskas and Di Stefano when players could represent more than one country. Now players must gain clearance having played for a different country at youth level, forget the senior team!

The most likely relevant case we can use is that of Serbia and Montenegro. Montenegro became an independent state in 2006 and the two separate FA's split as a result. Usual FIFA rules state that a player cannot represent two separate countries having already played a competitive match for one nation and vice versa.

However, FIFA exceptions meant that players could represent Montenegro or Serbia separately as long as they followed standard country eligibility rules, despite having previously played for the combined nation.

So the likely result if Catalonia were to gain independence would be similar, and the likes of some of the more senior players in the Catalonia squad, Puyol, Xavi and Victor Valdes for example, could all opt to play for the newly-formed state as opposed to world champions Spain.

It is certain that despite already being idols in Catalonia, that sort of decision would give them God-like status. However perhaps it would be more sustainable, if independence were to happen, to focus on young players and build a young team passionate about a shared goal: doing the red and gold proud.

The success of La Masia is unquestionable, I could say with some sense of security, that it is the most successful footballing academy there has ever been, perhaps only rivalled by that of Dutch giants Ajax.

Within La Masia and the Barcelona youth set up, consists some of Spain's best young players, all bred with the same style and technique. The likelihood is that many of these players would be eligible for Catalonia, and perhaps the site could effectively become the home of the countries youth set up. Not a bad future if you ask me.

This of course is all hypothetical, nothing is certain in politics. However the pride and drive of the people of this proud region is clear for all to see. From a personal point of view, I would just hope that the players could show the same passion for their nation that is encrusted from an early age in this proud region.

We shall have to wait until 2014 to see the results, but the future there could be bright.


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