Espanyol haven't won the Spanish title ever. But their women's team has - in 2006 - and finished fourth this year, which is more than the men's team can say for itself; they also seem to win the Catalan Cup with monotonous regularity. The reason though that we're talking about this at all is the news about one of their players, one Noemi Rubio. She's been at Espanyol for four years and been an important part of the side.
As of last week though she has been suspended and her contract - due for renewal this summer - is not going to be extended. Why? because she was photographed at Mestalla for the Copa del Rey final, brandishing a Barca scarf and with blaugrana face paint. Frankly, the face paint alone should be a sacking offence on any adult. Espanyol though are more upset that she then put these pics up on Facebook. Ah the joys of posting unfortunate details about your private life on the internet. I've been that idiot, many a time.
They say that it's not about her support, pointing out that many Espanyol players past & present have been Barca fans, even ex-Barca players, and that this is in itself no problem at all. What they are unhappy about is the lack of respect, discretion and courtesy towards Espanyol fans: do what you like but don't flaunt it about, basically.
You can read the full statement (in Catalan) here.
On the one hand this might seem like a bit of an over-reaction but then again, it's not like they're sacking her. How would I feel if there'd been a widely circulated photo of one of our players with blue and white facepaint celebrating the Coppa Italia win last week? absolutely sick to the pit of my stomach. Hard to say that it's a wrong decision on an emotional level.