Barcelona released a statement "following what took place in Catalonia, where Spain's Civil Guard on Wednesday detained 14 Catalan officials" involved in organizing an independence vote, according to MUNDO DEPORTIVO. The club said in the statement that it "condemns any action that impedes the exercising of rights like democracy, freedom of expression and the right to decide." The statement said, "Barcelona publicly expresses its support to all people, entities and institutions that work to guarantee these rights" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 9/20). The BBC reported thousands of Catalans "took to the streets in protest and the regional leader complained of a power grab" following the arrests of the Catalan officials. Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy said that the state "had been forced to act." Catalonia's separatist government "is defying a Constitutional Court order" to halt the planned Oct. 1 vote, "which has been condemned by the Madrid government as illegal." Wednesday's operation targeting more than 20 ministries and institutions "was a dramatic intensification" of Spain's attempt to stop the vote from taking place (BBC, 9/20).
Premiership Rugby club Worcester Warriors confirmed it is "seeking new investment" following reports of a "potential takeover" at Sixways Holdings, which has owned the club since '13. The club has reportedly received an offer. But Warriors' "only response" to various media rumors has been to issue a statement to season ticket holders from Managing Dir Gus Mackay. He said, "Any proposed funding structure has to be in our best interests" (BBC, 9/20).
Bundesliga side Hoffenheim signed a 10-year partnership with China League One club Meizhou Hakka. The two parties will set up a professional football school in Wuhua County, in the eastern Chinese province of Guangdong. The "local government will be responsible for the construction project" that is scheduled to be completed in '19, while Hoffenheim will "oversee a tailored plan" for the center's youth training, foreign coaching and scouting (SOCCEREX, 9/20).