FC Barcelona is back in the news in the United States following the opening of the new office in New York on September 6. Last week, CNN en Español dedicated its Triunfadores del Deporte show exclusively to the Catalan club. The broadcast included an interview with FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who told American viewers about the club’s strategy for the US and other priority projects, such as FCB Universitas.
FCB Universitas involves setting up a world leading centre for the generation, transmission, transfer and R&D of knowledge of sports-related science.
It is an ambitious goal and Bartomeu defines it thus: “At FC Barcelona we want to create a hub of knowledge that is recognised all around the world.” Behind this project, he says, lies the “desire to export and report to the world all of the knowledge that we have gathered at the club over the years.” The president went on to explain that “we are already reaching agreements with different universities around the world in order to offer degrees and postgrads and, why not, courses on subjects related with the worlds of sport, medicine and sports management.”
Bartomeu stressed that the Espai Barça is one of the club’s most central projects and described how this redevelopment of the Camp Nou, which includes the transformation of all of the club facilities, “involves trying to make our stadium the very best in the world.”
The program, presented by Elisabeth Pérez and to be re-aired over the course of the week, gave Bartomeu the chance to discuss the club’s expansion strategy for the United States, and how that relates to the decision to set up a permanent office in the country. “Soccer is growing fast in the US and we want to be as close as we can to our fans” he said. “By being closer we can generate better synergies and raise our profile considerably. The strategy involves creating new FCBEscola soccer schools, setting up projects through the FCB Foundation and, in terms of sport, forming a women’s team to compete in one of the local leagues.”
Bartomeu ended by talking about how the club’s academy has set a standard for the rest of the world to follow. “Barça has been investing in its youth structure for many years, and we don’t just teach the youngsters to play football, we also educate them to be good people. And that has led to ten of the 22 members of our current first team all being home-grown talent. It’s one of the main reasons why we have been so successful and it’s a role model for everyone.”
He also commented on the club’s unique way of playing football. “The ball is at the centre of everything we do” he said. "That means everything from our football to our business and commercial affairs. In the end, the ball comes back to us in the same way that we treated it.”