Statement: Barcelona will support vote on Catalan independence

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona Football Club says it supports holding a referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain.

Barcelona issued a statement on Saturday saying it is joining the “National Pact for the Referendum,” a civil society initiative supporting a vote by the wealthy northeastern region.

Despite repeated warnings by the Spanish government that a vote would be illegal, the Catalan regional government says it will hold a binding referendum in September.

The region, whose capital is Barcelona, represents a fifth of Spain’s GDP.

Separatists have used Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium as a rallying point for several years, with pro-independence chants regularly heard at matches.