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The 2018 General Assembly of FC Barcelona Member Delegates began with the first item on the agenda: The report from President Josep Maria Bartomeu. Midway through his mandate, he reviewed the first three years of his time in charge and looked at the challenges that the entity will take on over the next three years.
Bartomeu began his speech by stressing that "Barça is stronger, more sustainable, more committed and more supportive than ever." According to the president, the first three years of his mandate have seen the club face "difficulties of all kinds" but they have remained "faithful to our convictions."
The president went into detail on this point, assuring that "non-negotiable values have been defended: Freedom of expression, the right to choice, and the desire to always stand behind what the majority of the people of Catalonia decide."
Regarding the socio-political situation in the region, he stated that FC Barcelona has always called for the resolution of the situation through a process of political dialogue and negotiation. Bartomeu wanted to clarify that the Club is "totally against the application of preventive imprisonment, both in the case of Catalan politicians and that of the leaders of civic entities, such as in the case of former FC Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, who has been in prison for one and a half years in a totally unjustified manner."
Overall view of three years in charge: "49 trophies in 3 years"
Bartomeu then reviewed the achievements achieved during the first three years of his mandate, within the framework of the 2015-21 Strategic Plan, and said that the challenge is to become "the most admired, respected and global institution in the world."
Among these achievements are "49 trophies won in 3 years, including two doubles with the football first team." Bartomeu also referred to the creation of a "professional and competitive" women's football team, the Masia 360 training project, the Youth Champions League double win, the 1.5 million beneficiaries that the Barça Foundation has helped and the creation of the Barça Innovation Hub.
On the economic side, he also wanted to emphasize that FC Barcelona "is close to the 1,000 million euros income mark" and that it is "the most sponsored sports club in the world, according to Forbes magazine. These things can only be said by Barça, and that has to fill us with pride," concluded Bartomeu.
2017/18: "A remarkable season"
Regarding the 2017/18 campaign, the president described it as a "remarkable season" in which the professional sports teams have won 19 trophies, highlighting the achievement of the 6 Copa del Rey/Copa de la Reina amongst all sections, and the disappointments against Roma in the Champions League and Euroleague Basketball.
Talking about the first team, Bartomeu highlighted the double wins. "We earned our seventh league of the last ten years and our fourth consecutive Copa del Rey," he said, also stating that coach Ernest Valverde is a professional "with values, prestige and a belief in our model."
In the economic field, Bartomeu summed up the year assuring that the Club "has grown and improved income.It is very important to make money to reinvest in sports and real estate," he reminded.
The challenges for the future: Winning titles, success in Europe and expanding La Masia
With regards to what the Club faces in the next three years of his mandate, Bartomeu warned that "we must consolidate a project that we know will have be highly difficult at times, but we face the challenges boldly."
"The club wants to continue aspiring to win things, and wants to see Messi lifting the League, Cup and Champions League trophies. There is no Barça fan who does not dream about this," said the president, who also added that "we are excited about reigning supreme in Europe."
"The Barça style of play will continue to be reinforced and protected. La Masia will grow and the young players must aim to get to the first team, because we will retain talent. It is not true what some say about us, that we do not have a model. We have a sporting, social and management model, a Club model and we have a Foundation that is a trailblazing institution. We want to be different."
The plans set out by Bartomeu for the coming years are for the club to continue growing economically, exploring new avenues for business, loyalty to the 300 million fans that the Club has, use the future facilities of the Espai Barça to the fullest and continue exploring new markets and opportunities. The president also noted the work of the Barça Foundation, "which wants to reach 2 million children around the world in 2020".
Partners and Espai Barça
Socially, the president was very clear: "Our partners are the center of everything." The Club has many projects such as the T'Acompanyem programme, Barça Desplaçaments (Away Trips), and the Espai d'Animació (Cheering Section). "We want our partners to experience the life of the Club and bring ideas to us," he explained. Among the challenges set out for the coming years in this aspect is "the fight against fraud, which is one of the main objectives of this board, and the fight for equality and the inclusion of women in sport."
With regard to the Espai Barça project, Bartomeu said that a lot of work has been done. He explained that the project "has the approval of the Generalitat and the City Council, and is the largest sports and heritage project in the world at this time. In the spring we will inaugurate the Johan Cruyff Stadium, the temple of youth football and women's football." This was followed by a video showing the construction plans for the Johan Cruyff Stadium, the future Camp Nou, the New Palau and the Barça Campus.
Finally, Bartomeu stated that the objective of the next phase of the mandate is "to continue to be sustainable, pioneering, innovative and supportive, and for this reason I ask that our partners look ahead and stick together to work in the same way, to win more trophies and continue being More than a Club — the best Club in the world."
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