President Bartomeu speaking at the Congress / PHOTO: GERMÁN PARGA-FCB

Josep Maria Bartomeu opened the XXXV Congrés Mundial de Penyes with an optimistic message for the future: “at the end of last season I committed myself publically to begin a profound transformation of the Club. Today we can affirm that our plans have been carried out and we are on course. The economic effort we have made allows us to be excited about our future”.

The President continued: “our most important signing this summer is Luis Enrique. He brings passion and leadership. He’s a real hard worker and we are expecting great things from him”. Reflecting on the players the Club have brought in, Sr Bartomeu stressed the importance of Luis Suarez and explained: “he’s wanted to come here for a number of years now”, whilst wishing well the players who have left and reminding the penyistas that the Club could still boast some of the best players in the world, such as Messi, Neymar , Xavi and Iniesta and continue to conserve” one of our most valuable assets – our style of play”.

The President also congratulated the professional sections on last season’s success which saw the basketball, handball and roller hockey teams winning league championships and the Futsal and roller hockey teams also winning their respective European Cups.

Healthy economic and social outlook

The President explained: “we are trying to transmit a sense of expectation and excitement through our sporting success, which is possible because of the economic efforts we’ve made”, citing the record income of €530 million Euros, €41million profit and a €44 million reduction in debt last year.

Moving to the Nou Espai Barça project which was voted for by members in a referendum in April, Sr Bartomeu expressed his belief that it would prove: “the best sporting complex to be built in the centre of a big city such as Barcelona” and also mentioned that vote as an example of the social health of the Club, along with the updating of the members census and the reforming of the Club statutes.

Finally, the President praise the role of the penyes, stressing the importance of the ‘Penyes Segle XXI’ project and the strengthening of the movement with the naming of Pau Vilanovao as a new Club director, as well as the Fundació FC Barcelona, which this year helped 400,000 children in 48 countries across four continents.

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