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Although they are still unable to enjoy their favourite sport in company, the players at Barça Academy Qingdao, the oldest FC Barcelona school in China, can now go out and play in the parks after the COVID-19 coronavirus left its region. Barça Academy Qingdao closed its doors for the Chinese New Year holidays in mid-January and has not reopened, as the government has yet to authorise large gatherings of people. They have gone through the experience that other Barça Academy children and thousands of Barça fans are now experiencing around the world.
During these last days of confinement, the Barça Academy players wanted to express their sympathy for FC Barcelona fans around the world and encourage them to do like they did by staying at home to help fight the pandemic, proving that it can be overcome. They have captured this sentiment in a series of drawings that they have posted on the various Barça Academy Qingdao social networks to show their full support for the fight against coronavirus.
Zhang Jiahang’s picture illustrating this idea is titled “Outbreak of love in Barcelona,” and the young artist says he hopes that Barça fans will “work together to fight the epidemic. This virus is as fast, decisive, accurate and effective as the players at our club. I also hope that everyone in Barcelona is very careful to make sure that neither they nor their families are affected by the coronavirus. Visca el Barça! Visca Catalunya”.
Other Qingdao players have joined the initiative, such as Liu Baiyan, with a picture titled “Isolating Viruses but Not Isolating Love”, stressing that “as the coronavirus spreads throughout the villages, Chinese and Westerners work together to fight the epidemic.” Then Zhang Hao, artist of “One Man”, says “with a beautiful heart, I will always walk in the cold winter and return to earth in spring. Best wishes to my Spanish colleagues in the hope of the rapid elimination of the epidemic. Health and peace! Guotai Min’an! Come on!” Lu Shuoshuo also contributed a picture called “Hand-to-Hand”, saying “there is no city that can be imprisoned, only love that cannot be separated”.
Qingdao, the first Barça Academy in China
The Barça Academy Qingdao was the first of six Chinese schools that are now in the program, after opening in October 2015. During these five seasons, nearly one thousand athletes have used its facilities to learn how to play football with the FC Barcelona methodology and values. David Jaray has been the Local Project Director (LPD) practically since the start, but this last season he has been joined by another LPD, Javi Morillas.
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