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Football will be back at Camp Nou this Tuesday although there will be no fans in the stadium. The club is working hard to ensure that the empty terraces won’t hinder the players’ performance and to remind them that the fans are with them all the way. It is also important to respect human sensitivity and warmth, especially thinking about the people that have lost their lives to COVID-19 and their families. The club has decided to honour them and before the first home game following the Liga restart, Barça v Leganés, the players will be wearing black armbands as a sign of mourning, and will be honouring a minute’s silence during which musicians from the Barcelona opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, will be performing the memorable melody by Pau Casals, Cant dels Ocells (‘Birdsong’), which is traditionally played during minutes of silence at Camp Nou. The piece, written as a message of peace and love in the world, will be played in memory of all Barça members, fans and supporters clubs and other victims of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as honouring everyone who has done so much to help curb the crisis.
The orchestra’s nine-piece violoncello section will be appearing in the video playing an arrangement that Casals himself wrote for this particular instrument. For safety purposes, the musicians cannot be physically present in the stadium on Tuesday. A recording made on the pitch last Thursday 10 June, observing all health and safety protocols, will instead be played on the video-scoreboards.
The video that FC Barcelona is publishing today begins with the statement of 24 March 1971, when Pau Casals was awarded the United Nations peace medal from then president U Thant of Burma. “Mr Pau Casals, you have dedicated your life to truth, beauty and peace. As a man and artist, you personify the ideals symbolised by this United Nations peace medal. I offer it to you with my deepest respect and admiration.” These words were uttered to a universal Catalan, and are filled with a sense of pride and recognition that is now being dedicated to all the victims of the pandemic those who have done everything they can to accompany the patients and give them the best human and medical care possible.
Expressions of support
Once the tribute is over, it will be time for attention to switch back to the ball. Although no fans are allowed to the game, FC Barcelona has come up with a number of ideas to help the players to at least sense some of the support from fans around the world.
The Club’s official anthem, Cant del Barça, will be heard at Camp Nou sung by fans as part of an action run by the club in association with the Viber communications company, who invited its whole community to record themselves singing the song a capella. These have put together in a montage that will be shown in the stadium.
The first tier of the lateral terrace will feature a mosaic of coloured seats spelling out the words “Aquí juguem tots” (Here We All Play” that reflects the sense of unity shown by the people of Barcelona in recent weeks. It is also a reminder that the fight against COVID-19 could not have happened without everyone’s effort and commitment, but it will also help remind the players that they do not need to feel that they are playing alone, despite the empty seats and absence of supporters, which takes away part of the very essence of football.
This is how Camp Nou will look like this Tuesday.
The corner zones will be used to display banners and messages of support. Those of the members of the youth section (Espai d’Animació) will be in the north section, and the official supporters clubs (penyes) will be in the south section. There will also be two huge canvases behind each goal with the words ‘Més que un Club’ (More than a Club) to the north and ‘Aquí juguem tots’ (Here we all play) to the south.
All of these initiatives will be visible on TVs at home as fans will be able to choose between watching the stadium as-is, with no added sound effects and viewing the club’s actions in the terraces, or watching the modified coverage produced by the league organiser (LFP) with a virtually simulated crowd and ambient sound of Barça supporters.
New on the TV U
What is known as the ‘U’, the LED screens around the pitch, will also include new features. This space that is usually used for the club sponsors will be used for an interesting idea driven by the club’s global partner CUPRA, whereby fans have been able to send photographs of themselves cheering on Barça so that they can be ‘present’ at a game being played behind closed doors. The response has been exceptional and more than 25,000 people have sent the automobile company their pictures. A selection will be shown not just in Tuesday’s game but also during other games played at Camp Nou.
New for the Liga restart, there will also be a second ‘U’ located a few metres back from the first and that will appear just above it. This will have physical, static, black and white advertising to show the logos of the club’s main and global partners. This form of advertising is already in place in other Liga stadiums, but it’s the first time it’s been used at Camp Nou.
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