New ‘Republican’ football shirt scolds Spanish conservatives

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Few areas of Spanish life have been immune from the country’s current territorial crisis and now even the national football team has been tainted.

On Monday, the Royal Spanish Football Federation unveiled the jersey their players will wear at next year’s World Cup in Russia. For the most part, this was a conservative design, with the traditional Spanish team red punctuated with yellow stripes across the shoulders echoing the national flag.

However, running vertically down one side of the shirt is a jagged line combining yellow and, more controversially, purple.

“In Spain, purple is not just any old color,” noted El Confidential newspaper, commenting on the Republican connotations of Hue.

Many see Adidas’ new design as being directly inspired by the Spanish Republican flag, which features three stripes: red, yellow and purple.

“What kind of trash shirt is this?” Right-wing commentator Hermann Tertsch asked on Twitter, comparing it to a Soviet-era design.

Franco’s coup

Spain’s second left-wing republic lasted from 1931 to 1936, when a right-wing military coup led by Francisco Franco sparked three years of civil war, followed by four decades of dictatorship. The heritage of the republic continues to divide the Spaniards.

Right-wing columnist Alfonso Ussía was also outraged, asking if “anyone within the Royal – yes Royal – Spanish Football Federation knows the flag of the fleeting republic, which was so ugly and so bad for our history” .

Many social media users have called for a boycott of Adidas.

But not everyone was critical. Pablo Iglesias, leader of the left-wing Podemos party, tweeted: “It has been a long time since the national team had such a great shirt. The endorsement of Mr Iglesias, who himself was seen wearing a more blatant Republican design while playing football, only added to the left-wing aura of the new shirt.

Adding to the fury, some critics identified in the shirt the presence of the red and yellow striped flag of Catalonia, whose nationalist government recently declared independence, before Spanish authorities took control of the region.

Detained

The ousted President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, has been in Belgium since last week, along with four former ministers, saying Spanish justice would not treat them fairly if they returned. Eight of his former cabinet colleagues have been jailed pending trial on charges including sedition, rebellion and embezzlement of public funds.

On Tuesday, Puigdemont told Radio Catalunya that the Spanish government had staged “an illegal coup” by triggering article 155 of the constitution, which allowed him to implement direct rule in the Catalan region.

“Europe cannot have an entire government in exile or in prison,” said Puigdemont, who is fighting against Spanish repatriation attempts.

The Spanish government has called Catalan elections for December 21, when Madrid’s direct rule would theoretically end. However, a spokesman for the ruling People’s Party (PP), Rafael Hernando, warned on Tuesday that it could be re-introduced if the pro-independence parties win these elections and resume their pro-independence campaign.


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