The Scottish Football Association (SFA) has turned down an invitation to play the Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia at the end of this month in an unofficial 'international.'
The Catalan team is not affiliated with FIFA or UEFA and any match they play offers no FIFA World Ranking points. Catalonia, however, plays a home friendly every year during the festive period and have a date with the Cape Verde Islands scheduled for December 30.
It could have been Gordon Strachan's Scotland side visiting the Catalans, however, as the Catalan FA offered Scotland the opportunity to be this year's opponents. But the SFA have told the Catalans that they will not play against unrecognised nations. Catalan FA president, Andreu Subies, said: "Scotland will probably never play against Catalonia."
The meeting could have been particularly interesting given the current independence debates in both of the regions. Scotland will hold an independence referendum next September, while Catalonia is hoping to follow in Scotland's footsteps and hold a referendum in the November of 2014.
The reason for the SFA's decision is not believed to be political. Rather, the lack of FIFA World Ranking points from a potential game is thought to be the reason for the rejection of the invite.
The Scotland national team has been linked with a friendly against Catalonia on several occasions in the past.
The match against the Cape Verde Islands will be the first in charge for Gerard López, who takes over from Johann Cruyff after four years in charge. With Catalonia not being a FIFA recognised country, eligibility rules do not apply, meaning anybody can play, as Cruyff had done in the past.
The team is mostly made up of Catalans, but some players such as Andres Iniesta and Pepe Reina have played for the side despite being born outside of Catalonia.
Recent opponents of Catalonia have included Argentina, Colombia and Nigeria, who drew with Catalonia in Barcelona's Olympic Stadium last December. Barcelona players Gerard Piqué and Xavi were among those who took part in the draw.
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