Football in Catalonia
Football is the most important sport in Catalonia and was introduced in the late 19th century by a combination of mostly British immigrant workers and visiting sailors, and students returning from Britain. Catalonia led the way in the development of football in Spain, organising both the first association and the first league. Today football in Catalonia is organized by the Catalan Football Federation and the RFEF and teams from Catalonia compete in La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Copa Catalunya and several European competitions.
The oldest club in Catalonia is Palamós Foot-Ball Club founded in 1898. Although Gimnàstic de Tarragona was formed in 1886, the club did not form an actual football team until 1914. Català SC and Foot-Ball Club Barcelona were both founded in 1899. Several clubs also emerged with a reference to Spain in their title. These included Hispania AC and Sociedad Española de Football, both formed in 1900, and FC Espanya de Barcelona. On November 11, 1900 the Federació Catalana de Futbol was formed as the Football Associació de Catalunya. It was the first football association founded in Spain. The first president was Eduard Alesson and the original members included FC Barcelona, Sociedad Española de Football, Català SC and Hispania AC.
Campionat de Catalunya
Since La Liga was formed in 1928, seven Catalan clubs have played in the Primera Division. These include FC Barcelona who have never been relegated and RCD Espanyol who have only missed out on four seasons in the top division. CE Sabadell FC played for 14 seasons in the Primera Division. CE Europa, founding members of La Liga have played three seasons while Gimnàstic de Tarragona, UE Lleida and CD Condal all made brief appearances. Girona FC played its first season in La Liga in 2017-18 season.
Twelve other clubs FC Barcelona B, CF Reus Deportiu, Terrassa FC, CF Badalona, UE Llagostera, UE Figueres, UE Sant Andreu, Palamós CF, CE L´Hospitalet, CE Júpiter, EC Granollers and CFJ Mollerussa have all played in the Segunda Division.
Catalan national football team
In 1984 following the restoration of the democracy in Spain, a new competition for Catalan clubs was organized. The Copa Generalitat was not initially recognised by the RFEF and only teams from the Spanish Third Division entered. After 1990 however the Copa Generalitat, now organized by the Federació Catalana de Futbol, became an official competition and Catalan clubs in La Liga began to enter. In 1993 it was renamed the Copa Catalunya. The competition has gradually diminished in prestige and FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol rarely field strong teams.