Sports

Catalan clubs like Barcelona, Espanyol face La Liga ouster if region secedes from Spain

  • Barcelona's Lionel Messi, left, in action with  Rayo's goalkeeper Tono during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Rayo Vallecano and FC Barcelona at the Vallecas stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    Barcelona's Lionel Messi, left, in action with Rayo's goalkeeper Tono during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Rayo Vallecano and FC Barcelona at the Vallecas stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)  (The Associated Press)

  • Barcelona's Neymar, second left, celebrates his goal with teammates during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Rayo Vallecano and FC Barcelona at the Vallecas stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    Barcelona's Neymar, second left, celebrates his goal with teammates during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Rayo Vallecano and FC Barcelona at the Vallecas stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)  (The Associated Press)

  • Barcelona's players try to stop the ball after a free kick during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Rayo Vallecano and FC Barcelona at the Vallecas stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    Barcelona's players try to stop the ball after a free kick during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Rayo Vallecano and FC Barcelona at the Vallecas stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)  (The Associated Press)

The president of La Liga says Catalan clubs like Barcelona and Espanyol would be excluded from the country's top soccer league if the region succeeds in its bid for independence from Spain.

Separatist sentiment has surged in Catalonia in recent years following Spain's refusal to give the region more autonomy and fiscal powers.

La Liga President Javier Tebas says the country's sports law entitles only one non-Spanish territory — Andorra — to legally participate in the league or other official competitions.

Tebas adds that for clubs from an independent Catalonia to be included in La Liga would require a "modification" of the law that would have to be approved by parliament.