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Tuesday saw the official opening of the dedicated space for women’s football at the residency of La Masia, Centre de Formació Oriol Tort. The event took place in the La Masia gardens and was attended by the president Joan Laporta, first vicepresident Rafael Yuste and the board director responsible for women’s football Xavier Puig as well board members Miquel Camps, Josep Ignasi Macià, Aureli Mas and Àngel Riudalbas. Also present was the General Director of FC Barcelona, Ferran Reverter and the general manager of women’s football, Markel Zubizarreta.
Also taking part in the event were Lolita Ortiz, former captain and one of the pioneers of the Barça Women’s team, Alexi Putellas, current captain of Barça Women and Alba Caño, Barça Women youth player and resident at La Masia. Furthermore, representing the Agrupació Barça Jugadors were Barça Women pioneers Glòria Comas, Pilar Gazulla and Carme Nieto.
Alexia Putellas: 'The steps being taken make it even More than a Club''
"The conditions in which they can work now are luxurious, when we started it was very different," said women's football pioneer Lolita Ortiz. The current captain of Barça Women Alexia Putellas added: "At the they do not only develop footballers but also people. Barça is taking firm steps towards equality. All the steps are important and they make 'More than a Club' even greater - we are a reference point and it's a privilege to wear this shirt."
The blaugrana captain also referred to the efforts made recently in the area of women's football at the Club such as their own methodology, the joint men's and women's Gamper Trophy, the professionalisation of the structure and the new natural grass training pitch: "We want to thank the Board of Directors for listening to who the new proposals are coming along and taking the steps to improve the tools we have to able to work in the best conditions."
Alba Caño, one of the new female residents also gave her thoughts on the new space at La Masia: "I am proud to form part of the first female generation at La Masia and it's great step for women's football at the Club. We feel privileged and we want to thank everyone who has made it possible."
At the event also were the Font family who have had two generations pass through La Masia. Pep Font was one of the first residents at La Masia in the 1980s and now his daughters Gemma and Txell, both goalkeepers like him, have taken their place in the set up.
Joan Laporta: "The commitment to gender equality is total"
In his speech at the even, president Joan Laporta highlighted that "it's a proud moment to be involved with Barça on a day like today in which we can witness the residents coming together on this historic occasion." He continued: "The Club has opened the door to gender equality, linked completely to 'More than a Club' and we always have to be faithful to that idea."
Laporta referred to La Masia as a "space where we want to develop people first and that will help them be great footballers. This space is the spine of the Club's values and a mixed La Masia is a source of pride because we are pioneers and it is a global model. Feeling Barça's values is key to returning excellence to Barça and the values are here at La Masia."
At the end of the event, the president Joan Laporta presented the nine pioneering residents with a special memento bearing all their names.
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