From left to right, Marcos Mandojana, Jordi Cardoner, Josep M. Bartomeu, James Costos, Carles Vilarrubí and Manel Arroyo / GERMAN PARGA - FCB

The United States ambassador to Spain and Andorra, James Costos, joined by the consul general of the United States in Barcelona, Marcos Mandojana, paid a visit to the Camp Nou on Tuesday. The two diplomats were welcomed by the Club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, along with the first vice-president Jordi Cardoner; international and institutional vice-president Carles Vilarrubí; and the marketing and communication vice-president Manel Arroyo.

The visit is in association with the imminent opening of a new permanent FC Barcelona office in the city of New York, on which the ambassador congratulated the Barça president in the presence of the director of the American office in that city, Arno Trabesinger. As well as visiting the facilities, Costos was also able to get a much better idea of matters related to the past and present of the Club, as well the different connections between FC Barcelona and the United States.

At an official reception in the Presidential Lounge in the stadium, Josep Maria Bartomeu presented the ambassador with a framed replica of the cover of the Club dossier produced on occasion of the famous tour of the United States in 1937. The guests were then shown around the ground, starting with the first team dressing room and followed by the players’ tunnel and a walk on the famous pitch, where several photographs were taken to commemorate the event. They then spent some time in the FC Barcelona Museum, where Jordi Cardoner was at hand to explain the meaning behind some of the most important exhibits.

Big in America

The visit ties in with the opening of the new FC Barcelona office in the United States, scheduled for early 2016. This will make Barça the first Spanish Liga team to have a permanent office in the country, located in the Manhattan district of New York, right beside Central Park.

The office forms part on the on-going process of internationalising the Club, the aim being to raise FC Barcelona’s profile in key countries and territories, not just commercially, but socially and institutionally too, by building relationships with sporting, non-sporting and governmental bodies. And the United States is one of those priority markets, although the New York office will also be used as the base for promoting Barça throughout North, Central and South America.

FC Barcelona already has a huge presence in the Americas through its supporters clubs (penyas), its FCBEscola academies and through collaborations with its Foundation. Six of those supporters clubs are based in the United States: The Official NYC FC Barcelona Penya; FC Barcelona Supporters Club Miami; Penya Barcelonista Chicago; Penya Barcelonista Washington DC; Penya Barcelonista San Francisco and the Los Angeles FC Barcelona Soccer Foundation. There is also an FCB Escola centre in Florida, and in the summer of 2015, a total of 23 FCB Campus were held. Elsewhere in the Americas, FC Barcelona has 24 supporters clubs, 4 FCBEscola centres and 11 FCB Campus.

The Foundation also has very close ties with the Americas. It has a strategic alliance with UNICEF, which has its headquarters in New York, and also with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, and has collaborated with charity projects in Miami, through the Fundación Pies Descalzos. Elsewhere in the continent, the Foundation has worked with the Inter-American Development Bank, and has set up projects in Mexico with the Fundación Rafa Márquez, in Brazil with Neymar and Edmílson’s foundations, and in Argentina through that of Leo Messi.

Statement by Josep Maria Bartomeu, President of FC Barcelona

"The opening of an FC Barcelona office in New York is a strategic decision in response to the increased support for and popularity of football in the United States. This office will extend the internationalisation and positioning of the Club in the American continent. The idea is for this delegation to spread the Barça name in this territory, as has been happening with regard to Asia through the office in Hong Kong, which is already operational".

Statement by James Costos, US ambassador to Spain and Andorra:

"The fact that FC Barcelona has opened an office in New York is very good news as this will make the ties with the United States even stronger. I am sure that the city of New York will welcome you with open arms. Barça is very well known in the United States both because of its history of sporting success and because of its widespread work for charity, such as the recent campaign in favour of the refugees, something with is very deep-rooted in North American culture”.

US Ambassador visits FC Barcelona by fcbarcelona
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