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Proposal for Catalans to compete separate to Spain in Brazil...

Barcelona presidential candidates Sandro Rosell, Marc Ingla, Jaume Ferrer and Agusti Benedito are backing a plan to have Catalunya compete at the next World Cup in Brazil in four years time.

Catalunya already take part in unofficial friendlies as a separate entity from the Spain national side and are currently coach by Barcelona's honorary president Johan Cruyff.

An organisation called Pro Seleccions Esportives Catalanes have launched a media campaign, and website www.selecciones.cat, with the specific target of having the Catalans involved in competitive international competitions, which specifically targets the World Cup.

"All club leaders have an obligation to respect their Catalan heritage," Rosell was quoted as saying while Ingla, qualified his stance by stating that the issue of a separate identity for Catalunya was one for the politicians to deal with:

"We will support all policies and sporting initiatives that are carried out. The resolution of these issues is a matter for the politicians. A significant part of Catalan society identifies the club [Barcelona] as an ambassador for our country."

Ferrer has declared that he supports the ongoing quest to secure Catalunya's place at the next World Cup finals, believing it to be possible to do so in an uncomplicated manner.

"We will continue as we have up to now, looking to put Catalans in the World Cup in an uncomplicated way," he declared, while Benedito was more reserved in his statements, declaring that Barcelona are representative of the whole of Catalunya in football:

"There is no action that Barca does on a daily basis that is not done in defending the country, when Barcelona wins it does so on behalf of Catalunya."

Were Catalunya capable of competing at the 2010 World Cup it would have a potentially devastating effect on the current European champions Spain with Victor Valdes, Joan Capdevila, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets all eligible as Catalans by birth, while Pepe Reina and Andres Iniesta have both represented Catalunya in the past.

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