19th century origins

FC Barcelona is a club with a long history. Founded in November 1899, it was created by a Swiss gentleman called Hans Gamper and a group of young men who did gymnastics and other athletic disciplines, and who saw sport as a new and modern activity with which they wanted to identify. In those days, football was amateur and progressed thanks to the enthusiasm of the players, who were both the members and directors of the club. Although the founder members included a number of foreign residents in Barcelona, from the outset it was also a way for them to meet local players. Therefore, the club took the name of the city, and the crest included the cross of St George on the top of the four red stripes on a yellow background, the representative symbols of the city of Barcelona and the Catalan nation, respectively.

Catalan identity and global outlook

FC Barcelona is a club that competes on the field of play, but that also beats each day with the hearts of its people. It is well known that Barça is defined by the slogan ‘more than a club’, which signifies its implication with the society around it. As the most representative sporting institution of the country and one of its finest ambassadors, this idea has always been associated with the club’s commitment to Catalan society. But the club has also always been noted for its support for democracy, freedom and liberty, combining its defence of the Catalan identity with an openness towards the world.

The members’ club

Barça was formed by its members and is governed by its members. Although a top level club like this has to be run in a businesslike fashion, its biggest decisions are still made by a board of directors that is elected by the members by means of democratic mechanisms. All members have the same rights and duties, and it makes them proud to be able to say that Barça is one of the few clubs in the world that is owned by its members and is governed democratically. And this unique model has never prevented the club from being run efficiently and from enjoying huge success on the field.

Barça ambassadors

As well as its members, Barça’s identity is also promoted by its Supporters Clubs in all five continents. They work hard to maintain and improve the representativeness and projection of Barça around the world and to foster the club’s historic values and brotherhood among members and fans. They often form part of active society in the towns and cities where they are based. With almost 1,500 clubs, this is a unique phenomenon. But passion for Barça goes much further than these organised supporter groups. Being such an international club, Barça is one of the most widely supported clubs in the world. This leadership is particularly reflected in social networks and in world 2.0.

Goals, our trademark

Barça’s history is also associated to good football. A veritable advocate of the beautiful game, its style has always been about attacking flair rather than focusing on tight defence. Barça’s teams have always liked to take the initiative, to play the ball rather than wait for it, and always to hunt for the opponent’s goal. This philosophy is evident in the way Barça has always been able to attract some of the best strikers in the world. Kubala, Cruyff, Maradona and, more recently, Ronaldinho and Messi. But the use of these major international stars has always been complemented by local players that have come up through the club’s own youth system. This system has benefited enormously from La Masia, which was opened in 1979, and the impressive youth structure that has been built around it.

Multisport vocation

There is no other club in Europe that compares with Barça in terms of the variety of sports it promotes. It has four professional sections (basketball, handball, roller hockey and futsal) and eight amateur ones (athletics, rugby, baseball, volleyball, field hockey, ice hockey, figure skating and wheelchair basketball). All of the professional teams apart from futsal have been European champions at least once. In 2003, FC Barcelona’s basketball team won the Euroleague, and over the years has featured such stars as Epi, Solozábal, Audie Norris and Bodiroga, as well as the Gasol brothers, Pau and Marc Gasol, who are now in the NBA, and Joan Carles Navarro. In handball, Barça was the most dominant club in Europe from 1991 to 2004, winning 7 European Cups and 5 Cup Winners Cups. The roller hockey team absolutely dominates the sport, and the same is starting to be the case with the futsal team too.

Barça territory

When describing the magnitude of FC Barcelona, people often refer to the majestic grandeur of the Camp Nou stadium, which was inaugurated in September 1957. It was designed by the architect Francesc Mitjans. Well ahead of its time, the perimeter of the terraces is elliptic, without angles, meaning that even today it looks strikingly modern. Barça also has the ultra-modern Joan Gamper training grounds in Sant Joan Despí. Since January 2008 this has been where all Barça’s football activity takes place, from the first team to the youngest youth teams. Another emblematic facility is the Palau Blaugrana, opened in 1971, and where all of the professional teams play, and where history has become legend. With the terraces right next to the court, it creates an amazing atmosphere that has proved determinant in some famous comebacks over the years. Barça also has an ice rink, and the Miniestadi, where Barça B play.