According to the Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia, the Spanish football club Barcelona is altering its famous badge in some Arab countries in order to avoid offending Muslims.
The badge is especially altered in Saudi Arabia or Algeria, where the Barcelona shirts are being sold without the red cross of Saint George, the patron saint of the Catalan region which Barca claims to represent, the La Vanguardia newspaper found in a private investigation.
The badge, which was created in 1906, features a single vertical red line in Saudi Arabia and Algeria, due to the fact that there, the red cross represents the symbol of the brutal mediaeval Christian crusades against Islam.
La Vanguardia, in its Saturday edition, expressed its indignation as well as shock, asking the officials of the club to respond to the situation.
The investigation is expected to cause some debates among Barca fans, as it would be the second time in the club’s history when the badge is being altered. The first time was during the Franco period (1939-1975), when Barca had to remove from their badge the red and yellow stripes of the banned Catalan regional flag, due to the fact that the regime did not approve any signs of Catalan autonomy or separatism.
Only when Franco was close to his death the club received permission to put the red and yellow stripes back onto their badge.
The emerging scandal comes after the problematic episode encountered by Italian champions Inter Milan in September, when they played in white shirts with a big cross on the front against the Turkish club Fenerbahce.
The Turkish media harshly criticized the Italian team, saying that they used those particular shirts in order to offend Muslim sentiments. Turkish lawyer Baris Kaska requested UEFA sanctions for Inter over charges of racist superiority of a religion.