International: Catalonia

Today’s episode of our international series on Non-Fifa affiliated nations/regions is Catalonia, the most successful unrecognised national team in the world.

Catalonia is a large region in North East Spain, that has Barcelona as its capital. The region’s history with spain is a rocky one as there are a large number of people that wish to become independent of Spain.

To the football pitch now and since being founded in 1900, Catalonia has not been recognized by FIFA or UEFA therefore cannot compete in The World Cup or The European Championship. Other than in certain cases where other nationalities are involved, Catalan players are full Spanish citizens who are eligible to play for Spain and because of the quality of players from this region often do.

Catalonia in red.

The biggest teams from the region are FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol, both of which play in the top flight of Spanish Football.

Since 1904, the team has played nearly 200 games against various national, regional and club teams including some giants of the football world including Brazil and Argentina.

Clubs are also not obligated to release their players, and the request is sometimes refused by clubs, eligible players can also choose not to be involved. This means the Catalan squads are frequently below what would be considered their ‘full strength’, but also means those who do take part are fully committed to the concept.

Carlos Puyol, Barcelona Legend, featuring for Catalonia against Argentina.

The Elo rating system was adapted for football by adding a weighting for the kind of match, an adjustment for the home team advantage, and an adjustment for goal difference in the match result. Its estimated Elo is 1861 which as of the 27 March 2019 would rank them 16th in the world. Its highest Elo was 1885 points on the 28th December 2010 and at that time it would have been ranked seventh in the world ahead of nations such as Portugal, Italy and France. Not bad for a region of approximately 7,500,000 people.

Everyone here at ‘Climbing The Ladder’ would like to wish everyone at Catalonia all the best in their future friendly fixtures.

Author: Alex Scott

Currently doing as much freelance journalism work as possible. Avid football fan and player currently at Penrith Academy.

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