President Joan Laporta explains to the Mobile World Congress Barça's future and innovation

President Joan Laporta explains to the Mobile World Congress Barça's future and innovation

The FC Barcelona leader takes part in the first day of the congress to communicate the Club's intention to meet the challenges of the future

The FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta was one of the main guests on the first day of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the flagship event in the communications industry, taking place between 28 February and 3 March at the Gran Via de Fira in Barcelona. In a speech titled Passion, inclusivity and innovation, the roots that will grow FC Barcelona future, the president outlined the pillars that define the club as unique and from that position, who the institution is facing the challenged set by the future in the digital age, the adoption of new technologies to reach fans and the competition from other clubs owned by corporations or businesses. 


In front of almost 500 people filling the auditorium at the MWC, president Laporta began by reminding everyone of Barça's ownership model involving more than 144,000 members, its multisport commitment, leaders in five sporting disciplines and a style of play recognised around the world. These are some of the foundations according to the president of FC Barcelona that allow Barça to place themselves as leaders in the football industry as the most recognised sporting club in the world. 

This unique position does not prevent them from being competitive: "Being a sporting association does not stop the Club working like a large business with a high level of operational efficiency and a social and financial impact, managed with professional criteria, transparency and the desire to be sustainable," said Laporta. 

A call for peace 

During his speech, the president outlined the Club's role in society and its desire to have a positive impact on its environment. As such,  he took the opportunity to express his solidarity with the people of Ukraine and call for peace in the light of the conflict going on in the country. "Because we are an institution with a soul and with the desire to help others, I want to express our solidarity with the people who are suffering in the war in Ukraine. Please, stop the war and give an opportunity for peace," said Laporta.  

Strategic plan for the future

In order to maximise the club's value and face the challenges of the future, the FC Barcelona president explained that the Club has a Strategic Plan 2021-26 that is based on three fundaments: being Leaders, Sustainable and Social and outlined just what each consists of. By leader means "leaders in innovation and transforming the club to focus on the fan, creating new opportunities for growth whilst guaranteeing ourselves a level of sporting excellence and investing in the new Espai Barça." Sustainable means "both in the financial sense and governance as well as the relationship with the environment," and social means "being loyal to our origins and Club values, improving the relationship with members and supporters' clubs, guaranteeing the implementation of necessary measures for inclusion and diversity and with the Foundation." 

The quest for innovation is not just strategic but also is a question of "survival for the Club" explained the president, referring to Barça's unique position compared to other sporting entities. "We are different because we survive financially from what we can generate though the industry of sport. We do not have big corporations or shareholders behind us...That forces us to be imaginative, innovative, braves and be a step ahead in many areas that surround the sports industry," explained Laporta. 

One of the tools of the Club mentioned by the FC Barcelona president to foster innovations and knowledge in the Barça Innovation Hub, a platform "that promotes the culture of excellence, sharing knowledge and innovation and that aims to be an internal mechanism to create value for the Club itself." 

The connection with the fans via new technology and new fields of business offered up by the digital age are for Laporta some of the other priorities for the Club and as such he highlighted projects such as Barça Studios, the Club's platform for the creation and commercialisation of audiovisual content and eSports, where FC Barcelona have teams in various competitions. The relationship with the fans around the world needs to be inspired by the Club's values. "We want to create a democratic environment, caring and inclusive (physically and digitally) were basic rights are respected: from the freedom of expression to respect for gender and race. Barça equals passion, emotion and technology will help us take that to the limit," concluded the Barça president. 

After his speech, Laporta took part in a discussion with the event moderator, the BBC journalist Sasha Twining in which they talked about the importance of a club like Barça finding sources of financing to allow them to continue to be a player in an ever more competitive environment. Laporta highlighted the need to develop in areas of technology and innovations, collaborating with leading figures such as start ups, new companies, universities and innovation centres. 

Visit to the MWC facilities 

Later, the FC Barcelona delegation led by president Laporta together with first vice president Rafael Yuste, institutional vice president Elena Fort, and board members Xavier Barbany, Josep Ignasi Macià, Àngel Riudalbas and Joan Soler, visited several stands at the Congress to get an idea of the latest innovations and trends at this year's event. The delegation visited the stand of the Generalitat de Catalunya, accompanied by Jordi Puigneró, vice president and Digital Politics and Territory at the Generalitat. There was also a visit to the Mobile World Capital stand with the CEO Carlos Grau. Finally, the delegation visited the Deloitte stand where they were shown a model of the Estadi Johan Cruyff with cybersecurity applications incoporated. 


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