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The “culer tradition” of whistling Spain’s anthem is 90 years old

1925 saw the first famous whistle of Spain’s anthem from Barcelona’s fans. The whistles of the anthem repeated in the King’s Cup finals of 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014, and this year 2015 will be the first massive whistle of King Philip VI.

The whistle of the Spanish anthem caused the closing of the stadium even if the club was still celebrating the “Silver Anniversary” The whistle of the Spanish anthem caused the closing of the stadium even if the club was still celebrating the “Silver Anniversary”
The King’s Cup final played on May 30th between F.C. Barcelona and Athletic Club Bilbao has reopened the debate on the whistle of the Spanish national anthem and of the King of Spain (it would be the first massive whistle of Philip VI). A debate that is repeated every year when F.C. Barcelona plays the final, as happened last year when Barça fans massively whistledthe anthem and the Spanish monarch at Mestalla stadium, in the final the blaugranas played against Real Madrid (on the internet emerged tens of Catalan independence initiatives that encouraged the whistles during the anthem, just before the start of the game). The reality is that the whistling of Spain’s anthem when F.C.Barcelona plays almost turned in a tradition, either in football or basketball, as it happened in 2014, 2012, 2011, 2009, and… 1925.

On June 14th 1925, F.C. Barcelona organized a game in tribute to Orfeó Català (Catalan Choral Society), who had just came from a tour in Italy. The match was played against Jupiter and at half a band from British Royal Marine played the Spanish and English hymns. Then playing “Marcha Real”, the whole stadium whistled and for this F.C. Barcelona received a sanction of six months of closure of the stadium.

In 2009, despite the censorship of the Spanish Television against the boycott of the Bourbon Spanish anthem, and its attempts to focus on the only Basque supporter that seemed identified, the massive whistle from Catalans and Basques got to choke the anthem.

In 2011 the Spanish anthem and Joan Carlos I were whistled very clearly at the King’s Cup final between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Mestalla and year later in anticipation that the noise would multiply by two (the final was between Athletic Bilbao and F.C. Barcelona) the level of the speakers was increased to maximum decibels at Valencia’s stadium, which did not prevent the censorship of RTVE (Spanish Radio and Television).

In 2014 TVE continued with the tradition of politicizing the King’s Cup final, and besides the censorship of the whistle of the national anthem and the Spanish Bourbons, launched the campaign #unidosporlacopa, #unitedforthecup, (one of the slogans for the campaign “Let what football united, no one separate”), where they even gave away the final’s balls to the participants that sent the best photos of friendship between the “rivals, but united by the cup”.

In recent years some of the Catalan fans who booed the Spanish anthem were attacked by the Spanish police, who always uses a similar technique: if usually addresses F.C. Barcelona fans when they are going or returning from the bathroom, so they cannot be helped by their friends, and then they release the version where the detainee is the one who assaulted the police. This year the Spanish Football League warned that they will also join and add sanctions against the whistles to the king.

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