Barca alone

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Q. Why have Barcelona never had a shirt sponsor?

A. Barcelona's refusal to allow advertising on their shirts is borne of the city's standing as the capital of the "autonomous region of Catalonia". Ever since the regime of Franco, supporting Barca, especially against Franco's team and the arch enemy, Real Madrid, has been a means of expressing separate Catalan identity and independence from the rest of Spain. In a sense, Barcelona are equivalent to the national team of Catalonia and thus eschew sponsorship. - Adrian Brodkin, London N2.

Q. Has any football team (pre-Manchester United) ever lost five matches and yet still reached the semi-finals of knockout competition?

A. Real Madrid won the Uefa Cup in 1985 and 1986 despite losing five matches en route. Unlike Manchester United this year, these were exclusively knock-out competitions. Hamburg lost six matches in the 1982 Uefa Cup including both legs of the final. - Mr N S Smith, Luton.


Q. Australians refer to left-handed batsmen as "Mollydookers". What is the origin of this terminology? - Kevin Maguire, Batley, West Yorkshire.

Q. Why when some transfers are reported, are the fees undisclosed? - Gladys Portheroe, Askett, Bucks

If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to Q&A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894.