A Historic Slogan
The slogan “more than a club” expresses the commitment that Futbol Club Barcelona has maintained and still maintains beyond what belongs in the realm of sport. For many years, this commitment specifically referred to Catalan society, which for many decades of the 20th century lived under dictatorships that persecuted its language and culture. Under these circumstances, Barça always supported Catalan sentiments, and the defence of its own language and culture. It was because of this that, even though Catalan was not an official language, in 1921 the club drafted its statutes in the language of Catalonia. It was also in this era that in 1918 the club adhered to a petition for a statute of autonomy for Catalonia, which was being demanded from all sectors of the catalanista movement.
The club’s orientation led to reprisals from the Spanish authorities and it was closed down for six months under the Primo de Rivera dictatorship. During the Second Spanish Republic, the club intensified its message of implication with Catalonia’s own culture and institutions. President Josep Sunyol led this process using the slogan “sport and citizen ship”, the purpose being to imply sports in the country’s social and cultural affairs. Sunyol, who was also a member of parliament, was shot dead early in the Spanish Civil War in 1936; and from then on, the club came to be an icon of the defence of the Republic, as shown by the tour of Mexico and the United States in 1937. When the Civil War ended, General Franco’s dictatorship sought to destroy the club’s social significance.
It enforced the Spanish version of its name and the removal of the four Catalan stripes from the crest. Despite the dictatorship’s persistence, in the late 1960s the club starting recovering its former spirit, as made so evident by the speeches of President Narcís de Carreras, the man who coined the famous nation of being “more than a club” in 1968. Outside of Catalonia, in many parts of Spain, Barça also became symbolic of democracy and anti-centralism. When democracy returned after the death of Franco, the club maintained its social commitment and new ways of supporting charitable causes emerged, which would later be encompassed by the creation of the club’s Foundation. Now in times of globalisation, Barça has extended its social commitment to the rest of the planet, with a specially significant event being the signing of an agreement with Unicef in 2006, which was a way of saying that a sports club should not be marginal to problems going on in society, in this case, the plight of children around the world. Because of this, Barça continues to be “more than a club” both in Catalonia and elsewhere in the world, and is implied in numerous cultural, social and charity initiatives.