Barcelona win appeal over Copa del Rey flag ban


Barcelona have successfully appealed a decision imposed by the Spanish government to ban Catalan flags from Sunday's Copa del Rey final in Madrid.

The Liga champions had accused the delegate of the Community of Madrid of violating their right to freedom of speech after it was decided that the Estelades would not be allowed to be shown.

Judge Jesus Torres Martinez upheld Barca's complaint following a hearing on Thursday, meaning that supporters will be free to display the flags within Atletico Madrid's Vicente Calderon stadium.

Liga president Javier Tebas had defended the original decision, saying the flags represented "the destruction of Spain" and had no place at a showpiece event named in honour of the royal family.

Estelades have become viewed as an important symbol for pro-Catalan independence campaigners in recent decades.

The news comes after Catalan civil groups had organised the distribution of 10,000 Scotland flags as an alternative form of protest at the final.

"We've chosen this symbol because it highlights the different treatment that Catalonia receives from Spain, compared with the UK government's treatment of Scotland - a key difference is the freedom to fly the flags that identify us - and because Catalonia, like Scotland, wants to decide its future democratically," a statement issued via the Catalan Assembly read.

Barca face Europa League winners Sevilla looking to secure a second domestic double in a row.