BARCELONA’S future in La Liga has come into question this week in light of the Catalan independence referendum.
President Josep Maria Bartomeu admitted the club’s board would discuss the possibility of leaving the league if Catalonia was granted independence.
He said: “This situation does not exist so far. But with regards to things that can happen in the future, it is something that the board of directors would discuss. It would be something to analyse calmly.
“If we discuss the subject intensely then obviously we will find the best solution. But if this [independence] happens, the board of directors will see.”
Barca have already been offered a place in the Russian National League by FC Yenisey Krasnoyarsk while there have been suggestions they could even join the Premier League.
The Catalans are not the first club to move league, though. Our friends at Football Whispers examine other examples of league-hopping.
DESPITE being founded in the city of Bangor, in the North West of Wales, and spending their formative years in the Welsh league, Bangor City played in the English league structure from 1932 to 1992.
They originally joined the Birmingham and District League before spending time in the Lancashire Combination League, Cheshire County League, Northern Premier League and Alliance Premier League.
All the while, the Citizens still entered the Welsh Cup and won the trophy in 1962 to enter the Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup, where they were knocked out on away goals by Norwegian side Fredrikstad.
In 1992 they finally returned ‘home’, joining the League of Wales and have remained in Welsh football ever since.
THE Scottish side’s rise to the Scottish Premier League was a fairytale stuff, even if the Black and Whites’ progress was funded by chairman Brooks Mileson.
But even before that, they had an interesting history. Founded in 1946 by servicemen returning from World War II, Gretna briefly played in the Dumfries and District Junior League before switching to England and the Carlisle and District League.
Gretna remained in the English non-league system until 2002, finally succeeding in their application to join Scotland’s league structure at the third attempt.
From there Gretna’s rise was rapid. They reached the top flight in five years and qualified for Europe en-route after finishing as Scottish Cup runners-up in 2006. But by 2008 the club were liquidated after the seriously ill Mileson withdrew his funding. They reformed that year as Gretna 2008.
FOUNDED in 1932 in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, FC Vaduz are the only professional team in the tiny country and hold the distinction of playing in two league structures – neither of which they are native to.
After spending a single season under the Vorarlberger Football Association in Austria, they moved to Swiss football in 1933 and spent 13 unbroken years in the Swiss 1. Liga, the third tier of football in Switzerland.
In 2008 Vaduz won promotion to the Swiss Super League for the first time but were relegated after single season.
Despite competing in Swiss football, Vaduz enter the Liechtenstein Cup which they have won 43 times – a world record for domestic cup competitions – which gives them entry to the Europa League qualifying rounds.
FC Sevastopol and SC Tavriya Simferopol
BOTH clubs hail from the Crimea region of Ukraine and had played their football within their native league until 2014 and the Crimean crisis.
At that point both sides were dissolved only to re-emerge in the Russian league along with another Crimean side, FC Zhemchuzhina Yalta. But the move was highly controversial.
Neither Fifa nor Uefa approved the switch and the Ukrainian Football Association lodged a complaint to the latter.
Uefa soon declared any matches played by Crimean clubs played under the Russian Football Union would not be recognised by the governing body until further notice. They later blocked the move with region considered a ‘special zone’ for football.
IN 2005 Australia moved from the Oceania confederation (OFC) to the Asian confederation (AFC) amid fears the Socceroos had become too powerful.
The then-Fifa president Sepp Blatter said: “The Oceania delegates have thought for many years that Australia was too powerful and blocked the way of the other 11 countries.
“Now New Zealand, and the Pacific islands at least have a chance. They can go it alone, I am sure it will be a success.”
The move worked. New Zealand qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa – for just the second time in their history – and the Socceroos have been ever present at the tournament since the switch.