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Christmas is a time for awareness, equality and solidarity, in which children represent hopes and dreams. Inspired by boys and girls that want to change the rules, FC Barcelona is sending a message to the world: 'A Christmas to Change it All'. The club is offering a voice to the child beneficiaries of the Barça Foundation’s various programmes and those who also feature in the ‘Let’s change the rules of the game’ campaign, launched on December 7 -the aim of which is to ensure nobody is excluded and to thereby make the world a better place. The club is looking to send out this message of hope based on the new rules that these children have written themselves, and which seek to foster inclusion and equality in the world around them.
The main video for the campaign shows a group of children collecting the rulebook written by children from Catalonia and other parts of the world. They then take it to Barça, the club that leads the implementation of these changes, with the full support of Leo Messi, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué, Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba and the other captains of the club’s professional teams, as well as president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
These children include: Pablo Ruiz, a 15-year-old boy suffering from a degenerative illness that affects his nervous system and who is part of the 'FutbolNet Diversitat' programme in Barcelona; Oulimata Thiaw, a beneficiary of the Olympafrica FutbolNet programme in Senegal; and Givara Khali, who appeared in the documentary filmed at the Kara Tepe refugee camp in Lesbos, and who is now living at the Boosted camp in Germany.
The video is 1 minute and 35 seconds long, and is based around Ruiz, who is joined by other children as they collect proposals for the new rulebook from the likes of Oulimana and Givara and deliver them to captains Messi, Busquets, Piqué and Sergi Roberto, as well as Alba and the other members of the first team squad. They also meet futsal captain Sergio Lozano; women’s team captain Vicky Losada, and the roller hockey, basketball and handball captains Aitor Egurrola, Pierre Oriola and Víctor Tomàs.
In the video we hear Leo Messi taking us back to his own childhood, explaining that “When I was a kid in Rosario I played in the street all day. Children must be able to be that. They must be allowed to play. Nobody should be left out. If we change the rules, everything changes.”
Finally, the group of children deliver the new rulebook to president Bartomeu, with Pablo handed Messi’s captain’s armband. The video ends with a message proclaiming: “Barça, through its Foundation, wants to help all boys and girls to make sure none are left out. We are Barça. We are more than a club!"
The Foundation and the transformative power of sport
The club is once again using its charity work through its Foundation to send out a message to the world, in the form of the campaign titled ‘Change the rules of the game’, using the power of sport to make changes to help children -especially those in the most vulnerable situations. These are the main beneficiaries of the Barça Foundation, whose mission is support them through sport and teach them values, in order to help to build a more inclusive and fairer society.
If we change the rules, everything changes. Thus, the children have chosen eleven rules, one for each of the players in a football team, which are a challenge to the whole concept of what play means: For the pitch to be the same world, for anyone to be able to play if they want to do so, for the opposition to be companions and friends, for the result to be what matters least when one simply wants to be able to play, for the ball to be any object, for players to play the ball with whatever they can (head, hand, wheelchair, etc.), for no illness to be an obstacle, for there to be no bullying, for it to be a place where refugees are children treated like any other and can forget about their troubles, for themselves to be the referees and finally, for us all to remember that these rules don’t only apply to the pitch. They are also for when we are at home, in the street, at school and in life.
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