Football Club Barcelona on Wednesday came out in defence of regional Catalonian authorities in the face of raids being carried out by Spanish police on local government departments in a bid to halt an independence referendum set to be staged there on October 1.

The statement released by the club’s spokesman, Josep Vives, on the club’s TV channel.

“In the wake of the events that have transpired in recent days and, especially, today, with regard to the current situations in Catalonia, FC Barcelona, in remaining faithful to its historic commitment to the defence of the nation, to democracy, to freedom of speech and to self-determination, condemns any act that may impede the free exercise of these rights,” the statement read.

Earlier this month, Catalonian officials signed independence bid into local law, provoking immediate legal retaliation from the Spanish national government in Madrid and Spain’s judiciary has ruled the independence referendum to be unconstitutional.

Spanish police spent the morning raiding local government offices in Barcelona to confiscate any material related to the referendum and around 14 regional government workers, including high-ranking officials, were arrested for their alleged role in preparing the ballot.

“FC Barcelona, from the utmost respect for the plurality of its social mass, will continue to support the will of the majority of the people of Catalonia, always expressed in a civic, peaceful and exemplary way,” the statement added.