Sunday, October 31, 2004

Calm after/before the storm

After a week of celebrations, speeches, statements, angry pronouncements, euphoria, chovinism and arrogance, it seems that everyone has turned their heads to this weekend's football results.
At the end of the day, who does really care about roller hockey in Spain?
Meanwhile in Catalonia, 12 Catalan teams played their games of the Spanish OK liga.
Here are the results:

Arenamar Reus D.-Choleck Voltregà 2-1
Blanes-Barcelona 2-4

Noia Freixenet-Lloret 2-1
Vilanova-Alcoi 2-1
Online Lleida-Tenerife 2-2
Vigo-Maçanet 2-0
Igualada-Vic 3-3

More controversy and polemic is expected this week again.
We will keep you informed with the latest news!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Nations without state in the FIRS

Four other nations without state are full members of the FIRS.
These are Macau, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China, Bermuda, a British overseas territory with internal self-government, China Taipei (Taiwan) and Scotland.

In addition Gibraltar (British colony) has 13 federations that have been recognise by the IOC. These are athletics, rowing, badminton, boxing, hockey, swimming, modern pentathlon, table tennis, volleybal, thriatlon, net ball and squash.


Friday, October 29, 2004

Catalan government denies accusations

A spokesman from the Catalan Sports Council has denied this afternoon the alleged offer of $400 000 to the FIRS, that according to the Spanish Popular Party (PP), was made by the Catalans to buy out their admission as members of the FIRS.
According to the Catalan Sports Council, they just made a proposition that was never approved nor signed.

Who is using dirty politics again here?

Extra help for the Spanish Roller Federation?

Is it true that the Spanish Supreme Sport Council (CSD) has sensibly increased the budget intended for the Spanish Roller Federation?
Has that something to do with all the effort they will have to put in order to convince other federations to stand against the permanent approval of Catalonia as member of the FIRS?

The steps towards recognition

This is the possible scenario in a month's time:

  1. 105 federations have the right to vote in the FIRS assembly on the 26th of Novemeber. However, no more than 40 are expected to attend. Votes can be delegated.
  2. Each federation will be able to vote as many times as types of roller sports recognised by the FIRS. (i.e. if a federation is a member of the FIRS in line hockey, speed and artistic they will have three votes). For the final admission of Catalonia a simple majority will be required.
  3. Vote can be secret if at least 10% of the federations present ask to do so.
  4. If Catalonia application is rejected all players who played for Catalonia in the B World Cup would be able to play for Spain again.
  5. If Catalonia is accepted, those players will have to chose which country to represent. Their decision will be a definite one. They will not be allowed to play for Spain ever again if they decide to play for Catalonia.
  6. The Catalan Federation will allow the Spanish one to pick their players first.
  7. The Spanish law states that the international representitivity corresponds to the Spanish team. However, it doesn't say anywhere that Spain cannot compete against Catalonia.
  8. There is no appeal against whichever decision the FIRS takes.

Source: Raco catala

Reactions to PP's attack

Isidro Oliveras, president of the FIRS, has admitted the existence of an agreement similar to other agreements that the FIRS has signed with other countries and federations.

On the other hand, the president of the Catalan federation Ramon Basiana, hasn't denied the existence of the agreement and has stated that the $400 000 that the Catalan Sports Council will pay to the FIRS have nothing to do with the probable final admission of Catalonia.
According to Basiana, this money is part of the agreement between the two organisations to contribute to sustain the headquarters of the FIRS in Barcelona. Basiana believes this is normal since the headquarters are in the Catalan capital. To support this, Basiana explained that the Spanish Council of Sport (CSD) also helped the FIRS from 1991 until last year for the same reasons.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Macau's Roller Hockey Federation president's view

Macau will play the A World Cup and it will be in group A (Catalonia's group).
Antonio Aguiar, president of Macau's Roller Hockey Federation is confident about the non-admission of Catalonia as a full member of the FIRS.
The president of the organising committee of the B World Cup in an interview to the Agency Lusa said that Macau will be in the World Cup because Catalonia has no rights to be there. Aguiar believes that both Portugal and Spain will refuse to play against Catalonia and that will force other countries to withdraw their support to the Catalans.

Dirty politics?

The Spanish Popular Party (PP) has clearly made of this issue one of their main priorities. Francisco Gonzalez in a press conference this morning presented to the press a copy of the minutes of the FIRS assembly held in Miami, in which allegedly Catalonia offered an annual help of 80 000 euros to the headquarters of the FIRS in Barcelona.
According to the PP, this help was in compensation for the granting of provisional affiliation to Catalonia. In other words, they are suggesting that Catalonia bought his affiliation.

However, Mr Gonzalez didn't tell the press that in that meeting 12 other countries were also granted provisional affiliation. And that a protocol was signed with the National Catalonia Roller Skating Federation and the Sports Council of Catalonia.
The object of this agreement was: "to establish a collaboration programme in order to set common working lines for the benefit of roller sports. Both bodies will co-operate in a solidarity sports project that will promote training of elite sportsmen and women from under developed countries. The National Catalonia Roller Skating Federation will collaborate with FIRS in its sport programme by bringing sports technicians to organise five clinics per year".

FIRS' president views on the issue

Isidro Oliveras is concerned about the effect that all the public celebrations and political support will have on the final admission of Catalonia as a full member of the FIRS.
Oliveras thinks that all this publicity will effect negatively on the possibilities of Catalonia being recognised since the matter has gone far beyond a simple sport issue.
According to Oliveras the euphoria showed by the Catalans has alerted the Spanish Federation and all parties interested in the no admission of Catalonia and consequently now they will try even harder to get more votes against Catalonia.
Oliveras states that there are a few countries that have already agreed with the Spanish Federation to vote against Catalonia. These are Italy, Portugal, France and Macau.

Catalonia not included in the official site of the World Cup

The official website of the 2005 World Championship to be held in San Jose (USA), has not included Catalonia amongst the 16 participants. However, both England and Andorra (2nd and 3rd respectively in the last B Championship) are included in the list.

Would be nice to know whether the organisation at San Jose have been receiving pressures already?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The President of Catalonia speaks out

Pasqual Maragall, President of Catalonia has spoken this morning to a Catalan radio about the polemic originated in Spain with regards the recognition of Catalonia as a full member of the FIRS.
Maragall, thinks that there shouldn't be any problems to admit Catalonia as it was in this country where the roller hockey was invented and legalised as a competitive sport. Often when quesioning why Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are full members of the FIFA and therefore can compete against England, the answer has been that football as a competitive sport was invented in the United Kingdom.
It seems to me that this is a very valid argument in defence of the Catalan recognintion!
Maragall has also stated that in the last world cup in Macau, China was represented by 3 different national teams (Macau, Chinese Taipei, China).

More info about the world cup can be found at:

I need your help.

To my knowledge there are 23 members of nations without state that belong to the FIFA football and FIBA basketball, and 21 members belonging to IAAF athletics.

Could anyone help me to find all these members?
Thanks in advance.

Sport or political issue?

The Madrid-based sports daily newspaper AS, devotes on their online edition today ( three pages to analyse the situation.
According to AS if the final decision in Fresno is to accept Catalonia as full member of the FIRS , Spain will withdraw from all competitions.

A nice way of enforcing a decision against Catalonia, don't you think? So, what? Catalonia has at least the same competitive level as Spain, so no one really will lose if Spain doesn't compete.
However, this would be an outrageous attack at the sobirany of Spain, wouldn't it? and they don't even like hockey! they don't even know the bloody rules nor they could name any player who won the world cup a few weeks ago, nor they know who won the league last season!
So, it is definitely a political issue my friends, don't you agree?

The Spaniards strike back (II)

The tension between Catalans and Spaniards is growing by the minute. It is clear that the Spaniards are getting very nervous about the possible Catalan recognition and are preparing their political and media army to fight this tough battle.
Reactions on Tuesday night were numerous.
Lissavetzky, Spanish secretary of sports, defended the fact that under the actual Spanish law, it is impossible for an autonomous region to play an official game against Spain.

In fact, although the spirit of the law might support Lissavetzky's statement, there is nothing in the law that explicitly states that Spain cannot compete against Catalonia.
While the Basques and the Catalans suggested that the law could be modified, the Spanish socialist pary spokesman Alfredo Perez Rubalcava stated that: "the law approved in 1990 is good as it is and any attempt to modify will not have our support".
The president of the Spanish federation of roller sports, Enrique Garcia Raposo speaking to a Catalan radio, denied that the Spanish federation is pressuring other countries to change their vote. Accordint to Raposo, "all" they are doing is explaining that Catalonia is only an autonomous region of Spain and that all the competitions in Spain are being organised by the Spanish federation.
A very biased explanation of the situation, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

What can you do!!!

Show your support to the Catalans in any way you can.

Spread this website, give your opinions, anlalyse the facts, be critical.

If you want to go further, show your support by writing to the different national federations members of the FIRS. Click this link

and if for any chance you are a member of any national federation, please remember one thing : THE VOTE IS SECRET, YOUR CONSCIOUS IS ONLY YOURS!!!

The Spaniards strike back!!

The Spanish government and institutions decided to boycott the participation of Catalonia in the Inline Roller Hockey World Cup (London, Canada), by pressuring other national federations to boycott Catalonia.
Finally, Catalonia decided to withdraw from this World Cup in order notto jeopardize their possibilities of being permanently recognised by the FIRS.


"The main purpose of the meeting was to consider revisions to the FIRS Statutes, but other business of the International Federation was also considered, including applications from new member Federations. One of these was a petition from Catalonia, a region of Spain, for independent recognition as a FIRS Federation in all disciplines of this sport. The CC was not informed that a similar request had been presented to the European Confederation some months earlier and was rejected. In noting that Catalonia was not an independent nation under the United Nations, the CC was informed that their independent membership was not opposed by the existing Spanish Federation and that Catalonia has its own language and traditions. Noting that there was earlier precedence for such recognitions by FIRS in the cases of Puerto Rico, Macau and Hong Kong, and with no controversy contemplated, the CC voted for Catalonia’s provisional membership, which will be given final approval by the FIRS Congress in November. Provisional members are given the right to enter teams into FIRS World Championships, and naturally, this CIRILH World Championship was the first such to be contested. Almost immediately protests arose, coming first from Spain and originating both from government sources and Spain’s FIRS Federation. Protests also came from European federations, where a boycott of these championships was threatened, if Catalonia was allowed to enter and compete in London, Canada. In the interest of protecting the 2004 World Championships, the Catalonia provisional member was prevailed upon to withdraw their entry of a men and women’s team. However, the controversy over this recognition by the CC continues unabated, with the matter certain to be prominent on the agenda of the next Congress"


So, what about the sport?

Roller hockey is a very popular sport in Catalonia. Most primary and secondary schools offer the possibility of practicing roller hockey as a school sport, hence its popularity.
Out of the 16 teams that form the OK liga (Spanish premier division), 12 teams are Catalan!
The Catalan Federation encompasses 800 roller hockey teams from under 8's to female and veteran teams. This makes this federation the world's largest in terms of teams participating in its competitions.

What do they players think?
Most players have stepped forward for the recognition of the Catalan national team.
Players like Ivan Tibau, actual captain of the Catalan team and former Spanish captain, have strongly defended the Catalan team. Mysteriously, Ivan Tibau was ruled off the Spanish team after publicly admitting his preference to play for the Catalans.

Sergi Panadero, FC Barcelona and spanish national team player, admits this is a dream come true, and that he personally will choose to play for the Catalans. However, Panadero like most players, is worried about the consequences of his decision.

Basically, most players feel they are being blackmailed by the Spanish institutions, since they know that if they admit they want to play for Catalonia and the FIRS doesn't finally admit the Catalans, they might end up without being able to play international competitions.

Reactions in Catalonia

Not surprisingly the reactions of the Catalan people were opposite to those of the Spaniards.
Catalan politicians such as Rafael Niubo, the Secretary for Sport of the Catalan governmentsident, Josep Maldonado the former Secretary for Sport of the Catalan government, David Moner, president of the Union of Catalan Federations or Ramon Basiana, president of the Catalan Federation of Roller Sports congratulated themselves but were cautious about the provisionality of the agreement.
"It opens now a period of intense negotiations between the Catalan Federation of Roller Sports and other federations to gather all the support that we need in order to gain the definitive membership. Negotiations will also include the Spanish counterpart" Ramon Basiana said.

On the other hand the president of the FIRS, Isidro Oliveras, recognised that the decision taken remained within the rules of the FIRS and that the request from the Catalan Federation was always under the legality and formal requirements of the FIRS.

Spontaneous shows of support took place all over Catalonia and were echoed by the catalan press and television.

Reactions in Spain

After the March 27 decision taken by the board of roller sports’ international governing body FIRS to officially recognize a federation representing roller hockey, roller inline hockey, speed and artistic roller skating at the regional level, an important precedent has been established. Catalan national teams – in the strict sense of the word – will now be entitled to enter the World Inline Roller Hockey Championships in Canada and the B-Pool World Roller Hockey Championships in China.

The reactions from the Spanish government and media didn't take long.... the moment the Spanish Supreme Sports Council (CSD) found out that Catalonia could have an official skating team, it got down to work.
On the 29th of March Juan Antonio Gomez-Angulo, the Spanish Junior Minister for Sports, said that the CSD would be filing an appeal against the approval, and announced that it would be sending letters to all the federations that belong to the International Federation. With these letters the CSD aims to get Saturday’s approval suspended. The decision is provisional at present and the International Roller Skating Federation (IRSF) will have to give make it permanent on November 26 in Fresno (USA). In a repetition of what happened with the Basque pelota team of the Basque Country, Spain now wants to influence the vote of the other international federations. The CSD said yesterday, “We are going to explain to them that according to Spanish regulations it is impossible for Catalonia to have an official team and they are going to be asked not to admit Catalonia.”

Is the FIRS going to be ruled by Spanish regulations from now on? Is the FIRS going to become a political apparatus used by the Spanish government to preserve their "national identity"?

On the 28th of Match, the president of the Spanish federation Antoni Martra stated that as a member of the FIRS they assumed the decision of the FIRS but that they will agree with whichever position the Spanish Supreme Sports Council (CSD) takes in this matter.

Miami, March 2004, the story begins....

Miami March 2004, resolution of the FIRS:
"on a provisional basis until November 26, until the General Assembly of roller sports’ world governing body Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) sanctions the decision taken by its board on March 27, Catalonia will be entitled to field its own national teams in official FIRS competitions."

The Catalan hockey team celebrates the B World Cup title in Barcelona

More than 3000 people celebrated in the capital of Catalonia the World Cup title conquered in Macau. An institutional reception for the players and directors was held at the town house and at the Catalan government site.
All what Catalan people want is to be able to have their own national teams as many other nations all over the world.