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FC Barcelona to revoke medals given to dictator Francisco Franco

Franco infamously suppressed Catalan culture

General Franco Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

FC Barcelona’s board has approved a request to revoke honors given to military dictator Francisco Franco in the 70s, according to a club spokesman. Now, the club delegates need to authorize the motion for it to be finalized.

Franco received two medals from Barça while he was Spain’s ruler. The first was in 1971, when Franco received a commemorative gold medal for the opening of the Palau Blaugrana. Another gold medal was given to him in 1974, the year before he died.

Now, more than 40 years later, Barcelona are seeking to revoke these honors. The club says these formal distinctions were never written in any official act, but that since pictures of them exist in the historical record, they want to formally revoke any honors given to him.

Franco’s repressive regime ruled over Spain for nearly 40 years. He was an authoritarian conservative, often described as fascist. One way Franco attempted to quell dissent is by suppressing the different regional cultures in the country, including the Catalan culture.

He prohibited the use of languages aside from Castilian Spanish, including Catalan, Galician, and Basque. He made all Spanish clubs drop any foreign or regional languages from their names, which meant Football Club Barcelona was renamed Club de Fútbol Barcelona. The Catalan flag was removed from the club’s crest, in line with a ban on all such flags.

Apart from restricting regional cultures, Franco’s regime was infamous for its numerous civil rights violations. Franco’s regime has also been accused of influencing football matches.

For example, according to a report on FIFA’s website, Barcelona were intimidated by Franco’s regime to throw away a 3-0 first leg advantage against Real Madrid (in the Copa del Generalísimo, named after Franco himself) and lose the second match 11-1.

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