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The World Confederation of Penyes held today the 41st Penyes World Congress, held this year without a live audience but online for the 171,000 supporters club members as well as all FC Barcelona members and fans around the world to watch from home. Had it not been for the outbreak of Covid-19, the event would have been held in August of last year on the occasion of the Joan Gamper Trophy. It was screened today Sunday on Barça TV and Barça TV+ and was also streamed on the FC Barcelona and World Confederation of Penyes websites.
The 41st Penyes World Congress came after a season hit in many ways by Covid-19, and just a week before the elections to the FC Barcelona presidency, two circumstances that have had a huge impact in terms of modernisation, digitalisation and internationalisation of the movement.
Carles Tusquets calls on voters
Closing the Congress and introducing the debate between the presidential candidates, Carles Tusquets, the president of the Managing Commission, thanks the penyes for all their work to support the club in so many different ways, and especially for the wonderful charity work they do.
On the forthcoming elections, he said “I want to call on all members to go and vote on Sunday, safe in the knowledge that the club has done everything it can to ensure that the process will be safe and successful. The new board and president need to be supported by the highest number of members in the ballot, to shoe that the club is more alive than ever despite the difficulties we are all going through.”
Looking back and ahead
After the presentation of the club accounts and budget, the Congress looked back at what the movement has been doing in recent months, and particularly the way procedures have had to be adapted to pandemic restrictions. It also included a presentation of the book “El Centenari de les Penyes”, published in honour of the movement’s centenary in 2019.
The Penyes have been involved in several charity projects recently, with the 2019/20 season concluding with almost 600 actions, including those conducted during lockdown, programmes connected to the Solidarity Council and other activities carried out by federations and individual clubs.
“Despite the difficulties, we have remained active and maintained our essence. Indeed, the pandemic has shown more than ever what an enormously caring spirit we have”, said the president of the Confederation, Antoni Guil. “We are now going into a promising future in which we plan to continue working alongside FC Barcelona to build an even more solid, global and digitalised penyes movement.”
Recognition of the fight against Covid-19
In a year marked by Covid-19, the Congress wanted special recognition of what the whole movement has done to support efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic. Since lockdown began, clubs and members have done all kinds of things to help people suffering as a consequence, including work with the Food Bank and the Blood and Tissue Bank, as well as several monetary donations, and of materials to hospitals, charities and old people’s homes.
The Confederation awarded the 6th Edmundo Bazo “Friendship” Award to Dr Antoni Trilla, Head of the Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology Service at Hospital Clinic, Barcelona. “Recognition like this encourages us to keep working until the very last minute” said Dr Trilla. “I am sure we will win this battle.” The Confederation expressed its continued support for the current situation by donating a cheque for 5,000 euros to the Food Bank, with which it has always worked closely.
First debate between presidential candidates
In association with Seguiment FCB, the Confederation dedicated the second block of the event to the first debate between the three presidential candidates: Joan Laporta, Toni Freixa and Víctor Font.
All three spoke about the club’s current situation and certain key sporting and economic aspects, but the main focus of the debate was on issues impacting the Social Area, such as the club’s ownership model, and the role of members of the club and penyes in its governance. Laporta, Freixa and Font also presented their plans for the Espai Barça, for Camp Nou season tickets, the Seient Lliure system, the Youth Section, and management of away trips.
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