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Cheering for Bara: FC Barcelona and the shaping of Catalan identity

Emma Kate Ranachan Department of Art History and Communication Studies McGill University Montral, Quebec, Canada August 2008 A thesis submitted to McGill University in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts Kate Ranachan (2008) i

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements.....................................................................................................ii Abstract...iii Rsum.iv Introduction..1 Chapter 1 Literature Review.10 Sport, Society and Politics...11 Sport and Globalisation22 Chapter 2 The Birth of a Club and a Political Movement..30 From Recognition to Repression.38 Camp Nou44 Rivals...45 A New Dawn...49 Chapter 3 Representing Catalunya.......................................................................51 Who is a Catalan?............................................................................................52 Culture and Politics......56 The Camp Nou as Cultural/National Instrument.59 Acknowledging the Nation..68 FC Barcelonas Catalan Nation...70 Chapter 4 At Home Abroad?.................................................................................77 Whos Club Is It?.............................................................................................80 The Socially Responsible Club83 The Museum ...97 Building a Catalan National Team.100 Conclusion104 Bibliography.109

Acknowledgements I would like to begin by thanking my advisor Prof. Darin Barney for his immeasurable support and help. This project would not have been possible without his early enthusiasm and assistance in organising my research trip. I am indebted to Media@Mcgill and the Faculty of Arts for each awarding me a graduate travel award. With their generous support I was able to undertake invaluable field research in Barcelona. I would like to thank Antoni Aira Foix and Marta Cantijoch Cunill for helping me arrange interviews in Barcelona and Davide Calenda for his helpful suggestions in tracking down resources. I am deeply indebted to Jordi Penas, Antoni Rovira and Victorio Beceiro for generously giving me their time. Their insights into the workings of FC Barcelona were indispensable to my project. I would also like to thank the dozens of Bara supporters that shared their passion and love for Bara with me. I would like to thank my friends and roommates for listening and learning more about Bara and Catalan nationalism than they wanted to. I owe a debt of gratitude to Zo Cappe for her translation skills. To my parents, for their love and support, which helped make this project possible. Lastly, to the people of Glasgow whose joyful celebrations when England lost to Germany in Euro 96 showed me the possibilities that football opens up for national expression and set me on this path.


Abstract This thesis examines the relationship between Football Club Barcelona (Bara) and the Catalan nationalist movement. From its creation, Bara has been identified as a Catalan club. This identity took on new meaning during the Franco period when the regimes oppression of Catalan society drove all expressions of Catalan identity out of the public sphere. It was through the club and within the walls of the Camp Nou stadium that Catalunya was able to sustain its identity. The end of the Franco regime has created new opportunities for national expression and political solutions and the forces of globalisation have expanded Baras fan base beyond the borders of Catalunya and now includes many who do not identify with the Catalan cause. This thesis assesses how the end of Franco and globalisation have changed Baras Catalan identity and whether Bara might provide a model for expanding our understanding of the roles that cultural institutions can play in developing, shaping and sustaining sub-state nationalist identities.


Rsum Ce mmoire examine la relation entre le Football Club Barcelona (Bara) et le mouvement nationaliste catalan. Ds sa cration, Bara fut peru comme un club catalan. Cette identit a pris un nouvel aspect pendant le rgime de Franco, qui, par loppression de la socit catalane, a pouss lexpression de lidentit catalane hors de la sphre publique. La Catalogne est parvenue maintenir son identit grce au club et au stade Camp Nou. La fin du rgime de Franco a cr de nouvelles opportunits pour lexpression nationale, alors que les solutions politiques et les forces de la mondialisation ont tendu le support de Bara au del des frontires de la Catalogne : beaucoup de supporters aujourdhui nadhrent pas la cause catalane. Ce mmoire examine comment la fin du rgime de Franco ainsi que la mondialisation ont chang lidentit catalane de Bara, et la faon dont Bara peut servir de modle pour approfondir la comprhension des rles que les institutions culturelles peuvent jouer dans le dveloppement, le faonnement et le maintien des identits nationalistes minoritaires lintrieur dun tat.


Introduction In Vienna on June 29th, 2008 the Spanish national football team was crowned European Champions for only the second time in their history. This victory freed Spain from its reputation as perennial underachievers and saw them finally live up to the expectations commensurate with the teams talent. This victory could be enjoyed in a way that the first one, coming in 1962 and at home, could not. While the 1962 win has been credited with helping to bring Spain back to the international sporting stage after a period of isolation, for many in the country the victory will always been tainted by the spectre of Franco. It was not a victory for Spain, but for Francos vision of Spain, which excluded a large swath of the population. In the post-Franco period, Spain struggled at the international level and the blame for their defeat often fell at the feet of players that came from the previously repressed regions of Catalunya and the Basque region. While the teams undeniably had the talent to win tournaments, they played like individual players and not as a team. The lack of team unity was seen as being the fault of those who were not Spanish enough. Yet 2008 felt different. All the talk coming out of the teams camp was that the players were united and focused. Spains subsequent triumph was seen by many as being emblematic of the new united Spain that had overcome its fractured past and was moving towards a new vision of Spanish identity (Ball 2008; Govan 2008; Keeley 2008; Stewart 2008). While it is true that all the players on the team were genuinely excited about their victory, how the various players chose to celebrate indicate that the proclamation of a singular Spanish identity may have been premature. While many of the players chose to literally wrap themselves in the Spanish flag, none of the players from the Basque Region or Catalunya chose to celebrate in this manner. In fact the reaction of the Basque player Xabi Alonso at 1

being handed a Spanish flag was tentative and uncomfortable, and he quickly passed it on to another player. The Spanish flag was not the only flag on display. Sergio Ramos wrapping himself in the Andalusian flag did not spark a negative reaction. However there was a perception being that if the Catalan or Basque players had tried to wrap themselves in their flags, the criticism would have been swift and strident. The celebrations in the streets of Barcelona were muted compared to the celebrations in Madrid or other cities around Spain. One could not help but feel that while the Catalans could appreciate the talent of the Spanish team, it was not their team. Indeed this position has longed been filled by another team, a team that has come to represent the hopes and national aspirations of Catalunya: Football Club Barcelona, more commonly known by its nickname Bara. Bara is known throughout the world by its famous slogan, mes que un Club or more than a Club whereby the Club has come to be associated with the Catalan identity. From its conception, Bara has been defined through its identification with the cause of Catalan nationalism, but it was under the repression of the Franco regime that the true meaning of more than a Club became evident. Having been stripped of their access to other forms of nationalist identification, Catalan society turned to the Club as a surrogate to shelter their nationalist aspirations. With Francos death in 1975, the repression of Catalan society was lifted and ushered in a new era in which Catalunya was granted recognition and its own parliament. While the current political arrangement is an improvement, it falls short of full independence or even the full acknowledgement of Catalunyas status as a nation in its own right. Spains new constitution was completed in 1978 and divided the country into 17 autonomous regions. Catalunya, Galicia and the Basque Region were recognised as the three

historic regions and were allowed to fast-track their path to devolved power1 (Green 2007). The constitution did make it clear that Spain was one indivisible nation despite the presence of the strong regional identities. The historic nations would have preferred an arrangement of Spain as a federal state, a nation of nations rather than being one indivisible nation. Despite the strides that have been made since the end of the Franco regime, the issue of recognition and representation of the Catalan nation has yet to be resolved. Therefore Baras function as a receptacle for Catalan nationalist aspirations has not diminished. The idea that Bara is more than a Club continues to resonate with the promise that just as the Club is more than a Club, Catalunya may also be more than a region in the future. The question of nation is the key to understanding both Catalunya and Bara. For many Catalans, the nationalist question is not one of complete separation from Spain. Indeed the support for full independence is quite small within the region, generally hovering between twelve and eighteen percent (Eaude 2008, 262). The preference is to remain within the Spanish state, but to be recognised as a Catalan nation. This troubles the very foundation of the current nation-state system, which rests on the indivisibility of the nation-state. Sub-state nationalist movements have often been met with repression for the ways in which they seek to uncouple the nation and the state and this was certainly what lay at the heart of Francos treatment of Catalunya. In Francos worldview, Spains enemies were not outside their borders, but within. Sub-state nations are often constructed in a manner that resembles

Each autonomous community is entitled to a legislative assembly and government headed by a regional president and a high court. The responsibilities of the assembly include: regional and local administration, urban planning, housing, public works, environmental policy, social services, culture, tourism, small businesses and crafts, agriculture, fisheries, communications and regional development. Once a region has achieved the status of full autonomous community they are also responsible for education and health policy, (Morata 1995, 116).

Benedict Andersons idea of an imagined community (Anderson 1983). While this creates an important space for seeing the nation as separate from the state, it is not the best way of understanding how Catalunya relates to Bara. As a sports team, Bara is not a nation, but it does have an imagined community of supporters. Yet it does not adhere to Andersons definition in the sense that it is neither territorially limited nor sovereign (Anderson 1983). This is particularly true within the context of globalization, which exposes Bara to a wider audience and builds supporters around the world. In this sense, the imagined community of Bara is without borders or limits. Bara is also in an interesting position of representing the identities of its Catalan supporters on two levels: as Catalans and as mere supporters of Bara. A better way of understanding Bara may be Michael Warners idea of a counterpublic defined as: A counterpublic, against the background of the public sphere, enables a horizon of opinion and exchange; its exchanges remain distinct from authority and can have a critical relation to power; its extent is in principle indefinite, because it is not based on precise demography but mediated by print, theatre, diffuse networks of talk, commerce, and the like (Warner 2005, 56-57). As a counterpublic, Bara fulfils Warners idea that participation in this kind of public is a way in which, its members identities are formed and transformed (2005, 57). One of the defining characteristics of Francos repression was that it relegated the expression of Catalan identity to the private sphere. The regime could not prevent the use of the Catalan language and the expression of Catalan identity within homes, but it could limit its expression in the public sphere. Bara, in its capacity as a counterpublic, was able to bridge the two spheres by providing a

collective outlet for Catalan expression. The Club fostered a belief and a sense that group members were not suffering alone. Bara was not only able to form and transform the identities of its individual members, but it was also able to form and transform the ways in which group members were able to relate to each other under the dictatorship. The idea that a sporting Club can form and transform identities may arouse scepticism. Indeed it begs the question, what can studying Bara reveal about the Catalan nationalist movement? As this thesis will show, it can be extremely illuminating. Within the nationalism literature, when the importance of cultural institutions within nationalist movements is studied, scholars largely look at print culture or the role of intellectuals (Anderson 1983; Gellner 1983; Guibernau 2004). While literature often made profound contributions to the development of particular nationalist movements, its audience was often limited. As a popular symbol, Baras appeal is wide-ranging and it has a tremendous capacity to bring people together. Bara concretises the notion of the imagined community by bringing together the diverse population of the Catalan community every week around the same nationalist symbol. Anderson argues that the imagined community is imagined because one never meets their fellow community members, but nonetheless a shared sense of community continues to exist within the minds of the groups members (1983, 6). While it is true that all Bara supporters will never know each other, they are connected and united by a love for the team. In his article, From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik or how to make Things Public Bruno Latour makes the case for taking Things seriously as an

organising principle. Latour argues that people often come together around objects and it is through these objects that they relate to one another. Latour argues: Each object gathers around itself a different assembly of relevant parties. Each object triggers new occasions to passionately differ and dispute. Each object may also offer new ways of achieving closure without having to agree on much else. In other words, objects taken as so many issues bind all of us in ways that map out the public space profoundly different from what is usually recognised under the label of the political (2005, 15). Bara could be described as an object or thing in precisely this sense. It gathers people and attention around what Latour describes as matters of concern and maps out nationalist space in a way that is different from what is usually considered politics. Bara does map out nationalist space in a way that is different from what is usually considered politics. It was Baras ability to appear outside the normal realm of politics that allowed it to survive and to continue under Franco and today it is what makes it so interesting and important for understanding how Catalan nationalist identity has been shaped and re-shaped. The Club became the object or thing through which different versions of the Catalan nation have been articulated and it has bound people together on a weekly basis since 1899. Globalization is changing the face of Baras counterpublic by increasing its scope beyond the borders of Catalunya. Bara supporters can now be found all-over the world. While the Club welcomes its new supporters and indeed needs them to ensure its continued financial success, the question of Baras identity as representing Catalunya finds new importance in this context. The Club is faced with a new

dilemma of trying to balance its new international fan base with its commitment to is supporters at home and its historic identity. Writing about Bara, author Grant Farred argues, A politics of representation can project, but it is infinitely more difficult to function at once prospectively and retrospectively to try simultaneously, to reclaim the past and make a claim on the future, to make of the future a past that is unknown and historically unknowable, (2008, 94). Farred outlines the fundamental challenge that Bara is facing and a central question of this thesis how to face the future while also trying to retain the identity of the past and how to insure that the past remains part of the Clubs future. Bara uses its institutions, the Camp Nou stadium, museum and FC Barcelona Foundation, to shape how it projects itself to the world. To truly understand how the Club is remembering its past and facing its future requires a trip to the Club. Understanding the centrality of the Club to its supporters lives and identities requires speaking to those whose lives are intertwined with the Club. While in Barcelona I was able to conduct field research that allowed me to visit the Camp Nou and the museum. Visiting the Camp Nou was a critical experience in understanding the importance of public gatherings and how the stadium facilitated and encouraged a group identification and expression. The museum offered insights into how the Club writes its own history and how it is trying to balance between the interests of its local and international supporters. Most importantly, being in Barcelona allowed me to speak with supporters and officials associated with the Club. It is through its supporters that the Bara finds its true importance and expression. In addition to the

dozens of supporters I spoke to throughout the city, I was able to speak to former Bara board member Antoni Rovira and head of the museum Jordi Penas. In Chapter One, I review the literature related to the relationship between sport and nationalism in order to assess what has been written and where there are gaps in the current literature. I pay particular attention to the literature that has been written on how globalisation is changing the relationship between sport and nationalism. Chapter Two examines the history of Baras relationship to Catalan nationalism and traces how the two are intimately intertwined. The chapter expands on the importance of Baras function as a bridge between the public and private spheres and its ability to unite the population of Catalunya. Chapter Three begins by examining the dominant features of Catalan identity in order to understand what Bara is trying to represent and how its policies and values do or do not represent the Catalan identity. It includes a brief discussion of the important role that culture plays in politics and how the policies of Bara reflect this relationship. This includes an examination of how institutions that could have displaced Baras importance, in particular the European Union, have failed to deliver on the promise of greater recognition for Catalunya . The chapter also looks at the programs that Bara has created to integrate and retain its relevance within Catalan society and the importance of the Camp Nou stadium. There is also an examination of whether Baras lofty ambitions recognise some of the problems, such as racism and the integration of immigrants that exist within Catalan society and Spanish football.

Chapter Four looks at how Bara is attempting to construct itself as a global Club while still retaining a strong Catalan identity. The conventional thinking about globalization argues that it is a homogenising force, creating one monolithic global culture. Bara is one of the many institutions that is challenging this idea by trying to use a strong localised community in order to build international attention and support. Trying to balance the local with the global is a clear concern for the Club. This chapter examines the Clubs charitable work, in particular its association with UNICEF, which tries to export Catalan values in a way that also reflects the needs of the international community. How Bara balances the needs of its local and international supporters will be central to the Clubs continued success and growth. While it does not adhere to the conventional model of nationalist institutions, Bara is an enduring symbol of Catalan nationalism. Yet it is also a sports team and as a sports team, it has business interests that must also be fulfilled. It is now a sports team with a growing international fan base whose concerns may lean more towards winning trophies than supporting Catalan language programs. In trying to balance all these different interests, Bara becomes an interesting and unconventional site for trying to understand how communities are created when other conventional organisational institutions are unavailable. I hope that what follows demonstrates why Bara is such an important site for understanding why cultural institutions are important nationalist institutions and how Bara contributes to a different way of thinking about how globalization affects the creation and maintenance of different forms of community.

Chapter 1-Literature Review Sport has long been acknowledged as playing a profound role in peoples lives, but there has been much disagreement over what the shape and meaning of this role is. Until the 1980s, the study of sports was largely divided between liberal perspectives, which argued that sports were a voluntary social and cultural practice that was part of the fabric of civil society and Marxist perspectives, which saw sports as placating the proletariat in order to distract them from revolution (Cantelon and Gruneau 1982). Both these perspectives do not see sports as being part of or exerting influence on the state, which means that sports are not seen as playing a critical role in prompting social change. In early work in the field, little attention was given to sports role in shaping or reflecting identities that were not direct reflections of the state nationalism. The relationship between sport and nationalism was acknowledged, but only to the extent that it was instrumentalised by the state to promote its own interests and that the nationalism being promoted was congruent with the state. There was no recognition of sport as an independent social force in peoples lives. Starting with the work of C.L.R. James and Pierre Bourdieu, there was a move towards a greater understanding of the power of sport at the societal level and as a potential instrument of social change. Sport is becoming increasingly important in questions of identity formation and articulation particularly in the context of the growing literature that exists on globalization. Sport is seen as being a force in both cultural and economic globalization.


This review will critically consider the literature that exists on sport as a political and social force and how sports relationship to identity is being considered in literature about globalisation and sport. Does the current literature develop a more critical framework for understanding the ways in which sport has been used as an instrument for articulating group identity, particularly in cases where this identity is being defined against the state? This literature review is divided into two parts. The first will explore literature examining sports existence as a social and political force both within and independent of the state. The second will explore that literature that exists on sport and globalization. Sport, Society and Politics Classical Marxist theories of sport argue that sports can be best explained within an exchange and surplus-creating paradigm (Ingham 2004). Sport, as a type of cultural practice, is seen as a direct reflection of class interests and the material forces/relations that define the capitalist mode of production (Cantelon and Gruneau 1982). Sport provides a false sense of escape and thus contributes to the retarded development of class-consciousness among the proletariat (Cantelon and Gruneau1982; Ingham 2004). Sport is seen as unable to operate separate from hegemonic power. John Hargreaves (1982) divides Marxist sport theories into two different models. Correspondence theory sees sport as a simple reflection of the capitalist mode of production, a business aimed at generating surplus value for the capitalist interests that own and control sporting enterprises. Reproduction theory claims that sport provides ideological and cultural support for the capitalist mode of production, reproducing capitalist social relations and contributing to the false


consciousness of the working-class. In both cases the significance of sport is determined wholly in relation to the capitalist mode of production. Marxist theories have been criticised for being totalising and simplistic, failing to recognise that sports, like any other social relation, has economic, political, cultural and ideological aspects, whose importance is dependent on the social conditions at any given time (Hargreaves 1982). Some theorists have used the sociological theory of Emile Durkheim and Erving Goffman on rituals and their symbolic aspects to develop a theory of sport (Birrell 1981; Birrell and Donnelly 2004; Hargreaves 1982). Birrell (1981) argues that sport is a modern day ritual that can be best analysed by joining Durkheims social theory of religion2 with Goffmans ideas of everyday interaction rituals as significant social ceremonies. Hargreaves (1982) argues that conceiving sport as popular theatre rather than other kinds of rituals allows for greater participation and shared experience on the part of spectators because it connects more organically with peoples lives. Hargreaves argues that this type of analysis dispenses with the need to consider things like brainwashing and instead consider more important issues such as how peoples rationalities are grounded in material practices and social conditions at any give time. Pierre Bourdieu is one of the most important contributors to the development of the sociology of sport. Bourdieu recognised the important role that sport played in the formation and maintenance of a persons identity. Bourdieu argues that sport appears as a set of ready-made choices, rules, values, equipment, etc. which receive their social significance from the system they constitute and which derive a proportion of

For elaboration on Durkheims social theory of religion see Durkheim, E. 1915. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. New York: Free Press.


the properties, at each moment, from history (Bourdieu 1984, 209). Yet these are dependent on how the agent perceives the sport and this perception may differ according to each agent. Bourdieu argues, Because agents apprehend objects through the schemes of perception and appreciation of their habitus, it would be nave to suppose that all practitioners of the same sport (or any practice confer the same meaning on their practice or even, strictly speaking, that they are practicing the same practice (1984, 211). Sport has a different meaning even among bearers of the same habitus. In another piece, Bourdieu argues that the range of sporting activities and entertainments offered to social agents can be considered as a supply intended to meet a social demand. From this premise, Bourdieu raises two centrally important questions: is there an area of production endowed with its own logic and its own history, in which sports products are generated?; what are the social conditions of possibility of the appropriation of the various sports products that are thus produced (Bourdieu 1978, 820). Sports history is relatively autonomous; despite being marked by major events of history (social and economic), it has its own specific chronology. The relative autonomy of the sporting field is affirmed by the powers of self-administration and rule-making enjoyed by a given sports governing bodies, powers that have been traditionally recognised by states. Bourdieu argues, The constitution of a field of sports practices is linked to the development of a philosophy of sport which is necessarily a political philosophy (1978, 824). A model that seeks to explain the distribution of sporting practices among classes and their factions must take into account both positive and negative determining factors, including spare time


(a form of economic capital), economic capital (necessary depending on the sport) and cultural capital (amount depends on the sport).3 In order to develop a program for a sociology of sport, Bourdieu argued that one sport could be not be analysed without considering the totality of sporting practices. In order to create a sporting practice, one must first locate it in within a space of sport, which can be constructed using a number of indicators. Crucially, Bourdieu argues that this space must then be related to the social space of which it is an expression (1988, 154). One mistake that is commonly made when analysing sporting practices, is to assume that there is a consensus among participants on how that sport should be practiced. Instead, Bourdieu argues that, as a sport increases in popularity and in participants so does the social diversity of the participants and the various ways of practicing the sport. A second common error sees the space of sport as being self-contained. Sporting practices comprise a relatively autonomous space, but this space is not wholly independent of social forces arising in the historical context in which the sporting field is situated. Sports are part of a historical trajectory and thus are changeable over time. In this way, sports become a site of struggle in which dominant meanings (the social meaning attached to the sporting practice by dominant users) of the sport can be challenged and changed. This can include struggles over the social meaning of the sport or who has the right to participate in the sport. Out of this struggle a new
Bourdieu uses the term capital to refer to useable resources and powers (1984, 114). Capital can be further divided into a difference between economic and cultural capital. Economic capital relates to wealth indicators that often manifest themselves in the amount of money a person earns and the material goods they consume. Cultural capital is not necessarily dependent on economic capital and instead measures access to cultural resources. Cultural capital is often dependent on familial ties and the levels of education a person has access to. For a further discussion see Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Trans. Richard Nice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


sporting practice can emerge, even if it is in opposition to the dominant meaning. In this way, sports can become crucial sites of resistance and provide a space for a free expression of a non-dominant identity. This is particularly true for historically marginalised groups who may find that sports allow them to attain a level of visibility and prestige that was previously unavailable. The question of sports resistive capacities will be re-visited later in this thesis. One of Bourdieus main contributions to the sociology of sport was the development of the idea that sports are cultural products that are shaped by those who practice them rather than the more deterministic Marxist views that sees no agency for actors within sport (Clment 1995). This challenges the idea that sport is free of social determinants and that sport is unchangeable or unimportant to peoples lives. Yet Bourdieu also recognises that sport often reflects and provides cover for the naturalisation of social relations by masking the ways in which sports reflect different class distinctions. Sociology is not the only discipline in which serious inquiry into the role of sport and society has been made. Cultural studies of sport start from the premise that leisure activities, of which sports is a popular example, are important for understanding the underlying power dynamics of society (Hargreaves and McDonald 2000). Much of the initial work in the 1980s was concerned with demonstrating the centrality of sport to historical class and cultural struggles. Harvey and McDonald use the work of Jarvie and Maguire to identify the main aims of the cultural studies approach as: to consider the relationship between power and culture; to demonstrate how a particular form of sport or leisure has been consolidated, contested, maintained


or reproduced within the context of society as a whole; to highlight the role of sport and leisure as a site of popular struggle. The cultural studies approach also opened the possibility of developing a better understanding of how sport operate as a site of identity formation that can be relatively autonomous of prevailing power relations in a given society. While this may be fruitful, this approach is not without its limitations. Andrews (2002) argues that a cultural studies approach, in emphasising the agency of sporting subjects, can fail to recognise the ways in which sport remains shaped by social and historical events and is conditioned by institutions and structures of power. While it is important to avoid determinist accounts that drain individual subjects of agency, it is nevertheless crucial to recognise that sport is a social and historical product that frames the potential for action by its participants. Despite the various possibilities for individual agency offered by sport, particularly with respect to identity, the fact remains that the shape of these possibilities is always bound up closely with interests and relations of power in which sport itself is implicated. Feminist interventions in the sociology of sport sought to trouble the unexamined ways in which sports come to reflect and reinforce dominant power relations. In the pre-WWI period, womens participation in sports was limited due to the control exerted over womens bodies by the patriarchal norms of the day. An expansion of womens participation in physical exercise coincided with the greater political, civil and social rights gained by women in the wake of first-wave feminism. Feminist approaches to the study of sport are varied and have a variety of different goals. The three main strands are co-option, separatism, and co-operation (Giulianotti


2005, 89-90). Co-option is aligned with a more liberal version of feminism that argues that the main goal of female athletes should be equality (e.g. funding, competitive opportunities, media coverage) with male athletes. This is often achieved through the passing of legislation like Title XI, passed in the United States in 1972, which guarantees equal funding for male and female sports programs in schools. This strand runs the danger of not challenging the dominant gender norms that kept womens sports subordinate to mens in the first place. The second approach, separatism, believes that womens participation in sports should be completely separate from men. This is not because, as current norms would have it, women are incapable of competing physically with men but, rather, because separation would provide an alternative to the masculinist norms of current sporting practices. This is the most radical of all the approaches, but runs the risk of falling back on gender essentialism as justification for keeping men and women separate. The last approach, co-operation, involves an effort on the part of men and women to work together to challenge the current sports model and establish new models that do not rely on the dominant construction of gender identities. This approach focuses more on the ways in which girls and boys are socialised in reproducing traditional gender roles in sports. The third approach is where some of the most interesting feminist sociology of sport is occurring. Ian Day argues that women are taught femininity through customary stereotyped expectations and their sanctions for transgressions and they can face conflict when engaging in activities that seem to run counter to stereotyped expectations (Day 1990, 22). The threat of this conflict can been seen as an obstacle


that prevents girls and women from feeling comfortable in a sports environment. These stereotyped expectations are promoted and enforced by family, peers, schools, the media and other sites of socialisation (Day 1990, 22). Building on the work of theorists like Day, feminist scholars have recently sought to inject themselves into the sports literature on fan cultures in sports. There has been a recent increase in literature that examines the ways in which the commercialization of sports is changing the relationship that supporters to have to their favourite team and their fellow male supporters (King 1998; Redhead 1997). These analyses mainly lament the passing of the traditional working-class male support and suggest that these changes are prompting a challenge and a disruption to working-class masculine identity. While these authors make interesting critiques of the capitalist development of sport, their analyses are often predicated on demonizing non-traditional supporters, often by attributing feminine characteristics to them. Free and Hughson argue that one of the problems with Kings analysis of football is that he fails to recognise the ways in which the anti-consumerist identity that these alienated working-class male fans build is predicated on a feminisation of the middle-class new consumer fan (Free and Hughson 2003, 139). Instead the authors suggest that the grievances against commercialisation are a performative renewal of masculinity because they feminise the other fan (Free and Hughson 2003, 139). Feminist critiques of the supporter literature is vital for the ways in which it suggests it is possible to critique the commericalization of sport without falling back on a valorization of traditional male support patterns that were often built on an exclusion and subordination of women. These critiques open up the possibility of developing new models of football support.


An example of sports relationship with the dominant power relations is that between conventional politics and sports. Houlihan (2000) argues that there are two different frameworks for this type of analysis; politics and sports and politics in sport. Politics and sports look at the uses made by governments of sport and the processes that develop sports-related social policy. In contrast, politics in sports views politics as a ubiquitous aspect of all social institutions. In this case, the focus can be on the ways in which organizations use power to pursue their own goals at the expense of other social groups. Sports have often been part of states attempts to build national identity, including attempts to project positive views of the nation-state abroad. In many instances it is difficult to separate domestic and foreign policy motives as sports is seen as a low-cost, low-threat diplomatic resource. The dominant understanding of sport and politics is only able to understand this relationship in terms of traditional state politics and the congruent relationship between nation and state. The most obvious way that states use sports ideologically is in the service of nationalism. Allison (2000) argues that one key factor in nationalisms successful association with sport is because national identity is the most marketable project in sport (346). In many cases, it is legitimate to question which nation a national team represents in cases where there are different conceptions of national identity. Perhaps, in cases where there are, in fact, competing national identities within the context of a single state, sport can be deployed to efface, unify or otherwise manage this potentially destabilizing competition. The setting of international sports (flags, anthems, etc.) makes it easy for collective expressions of national allegiance to occur. Yet this mimetic quality of sports can act as a safety valve that deflates rather than


enhances nationalist sentiment (Allison 2000, 351). In this way, support for a national team may be purely about a cultural, rather than political link to that nation. Sport can also be a catalyst with respect to nationalism, provoking confrontations between two nations. Clifford Geertzs important piece, Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight outlines a methodology that encourages studying culture and cultural practices in order to better understand the society in question (1973). Geertz came to these conclusions while conducting fieldwork in Bali where he discovered that in order to understand Balinese society he need to study the structures of the Balinese cockfight. The cockfight was not sanctioned by the government, but continued as a practice with a highly organised structure and hierarchy of play and participants. He raises the important question of what happens when we start examining culture as an assemblage of texts? (Geertz 1973, 448). In trying to answer this question, Geertz writes, to treat the cockfight as a text is to bring out a feature of it (in my opinion, the central feature of it) that treating it as a rite or pastime, the two most obvious alternatives, would tend to obscure: its use of emotion for cognitive ends (1973, 449). Geertzs goes on to elaborate on how emotions, in particular risk, that are present in the dynamics of cockfighting represent, that society is built and individuals are put together (1973, 449). This text introduces the idea that in order to understand the subjectivity and structures of a particular group of people, it is important to study the interpersonal interactions that occur at the cultural level, often within areas, such as sports, that are seen as mundane pastimes. This is an important


development for understanding the ways in which sports can reveal the dynamics of a society in a way that studying more traditional areas, like politics, may not allow. C.L.R. James 1963 Beyond a Boundary is seen as a key work of postcolonial writing. Yet it is also an important work in the sociology of sport for the way in which it articulates the important role that sport can play as a social and libratory force in the creation of national consciousness. Cricket raised, for James, a political consciousness before he even knew what that was writing, Cricket had plunged me into politics long before I was aware of it. When I did turn to politics I did not have too much to learn (1963, 65). James argues that social and political passions (denied traditional outlets) could be expressed through cricket precisely because it was a game. Being high-profile cricket players gave people political voices that would be otherwise unavailable to them, not only in terms of being able to provide money for the cause, but also by virtue of being in the public eye. Cricket was also a constant reminder of the class and racial inequality that existed in Trinidad. For James, unlike most Marxists, sport does not deflect people from politics; rather it can be integral to political awareness and consciousness. Games come to represent something about the culture, also, a site of power and conflict, in which they are played and are able to reflect a nations value and sense of self. James books distinctive insistence is that sport is more than simply a terrain where racial stereotypes and hierarchies are reinforced and reproduced. Sport is also a terrain where these stereotypes and hierarchies can be questioned, challenged and changed (Hartmann 2003). Hartmann argues that cricket appears not only as a sport


or game, but also as an entire social formation in which the players identities and experiences as well as the games larger meaning become important. Sport and Globalisation In recent years, the problem Bourdieu identified of sport not being taken seriously as an area of scholarly inquiry has been addressed. The area of sport and nationalism is a growing field of inquiry particularly in the context of globalization. Sport is being given particular attention in the globalization debate as representing a paradoxical activity that is both integral to the dissemination of global values and capitalism, but is also a vessel for strong local and national identification that can be resistant to globalization. Bairners 2001 book Sport, Nationalism, and Globalization, critically assesses the way in which globalisation interacts with both sport and nationalism. One of the most common views suggests the process of globalization is causing the relationship between sport and national identity to fall apart in favour of a homogeneous global sporting culture. Bairner introduces the term Glocalization to describe the extent to which sport and nationalism have resisted aspects of globalization. The resilience of national sentiment is as much a result of globalisation as a reaction to it. In many ways, the processes of globalization have facilitated the identity politics of sub-state nationalisms and ethnic groups. A national sport need not be one that was invented in the country in question, but can be one in which a particular nation excels, which means that it can be shared by other nations. Sport can be used to transcend rival identities, but it can also be used to form division between rival identities. The definition of a national sport is specific to the nation in question; in this way they either confirm the uniqueness of the nation in question (ex.


hurling in Ireland) or reflect the conflict that exists between the civic and the ethnic representations of the nation (ex. football as representing the civic Scottish nation and Gaelic games the ethnic nation). It would be foolish to assume political disloyalty from an expression of sporting nationalism in the sense that who one cheers for during a sporting event does not necessarily indicate a desire to undermine the state structure (Bairner 2001, 169). The sporting nation both reflects and constructs the contested nation. Using Bairners idea of glocalization, Jarvie (2003) argues that sports have served as a kind of substitute for nationalism allowing citizens to voice their support for the nation without voting for nationalist parties. The author writes, The nationalism that is connected to sport may be constructed in order to be manifested within and between different types of nations, to be real and imagined, to be a creative or reflective force, to be both positive and negative, transient and temporary, multi-faceted and multi-layered and/or evolutionary in its format (Jarvie 2003, 541). This allows for alternative ways of expressing national identity that might sit outside conventional party politics or movements. It might even allow for an expression of national identity that supporters would not identify with a nationalist movement at all. The question of the degree to which identity politics interacts with nationalism and sport is addressed by Hunter (2003) and Carrington (2007). Hunter argues that the use of symbols can become particularly important in terms of pseudonationalities in which sport may be among their only expressions (ex. the use of The Flower of Scotland rather than the official anthem God Save the Queen). Sport, in an increasingly globalised world will become one of the most important areas in which


the shaping and re-shaping of national identity will play out. Carrington argues for a renewed focus on identity politics. He asserts that scholarly attachment to identity politics has waned in recent years, amid claims that identity politics have moved too far away from materialist concerns or that they have become overly politicised by reading politics into every aspect of identity production. Instead, Carrington writes that identity needs to be re-conceptualised as being a necessary, though not sufficient precondition for any effective oppositional politics. This will allow for the development of a more critically engaged way of incorporating cultural identity into political action rather than seeing it as a substitute. In Maguires important text, Global Sport, he takes a similarly critical view to Bairner, but makes his analysis through a historical sociological framework (Maguire 1999). Maguire uses the process sociological approach, which has an advantage over dependency theory in that it recognises that global cultural products are interpreted by those that consume them and therefore it is not a one way flow. This is more useful than simply considering globalizing practices by the idea of transnational practices, and is able to move beyond simple nation-state interactions. Both national identities and sport forms of cultures are undergoing a pluralization process; it is becoming difficult to claim that a single sport represents the nation. Sport remains an area where processes of habitus/identity testing and formation are conducted. Sport is used by different groups (established, outsider/emergent) to represent, maintain and/or challenge identities, as Maguire writes, The discourses promoted in and through sport by dominant groups construct meanings about the nation with which people can identify (1999, 177). In some cases, sports are seen as


embodying the characteristics of national character. The author writes, In fact, the emotional bonds of individuals with the nations they form with each other can have, as one of their levels, sleeping memories which tend to crystallize and become organised around common symbolsnational sports being one example (Maguire 1999, 184). Crucially, sports have the ability to sustain the myth of a common national character that is inherent and natural rather than created and in some cases ideologically motivated. There is no standardized, immutable, genetically inherited national character. Yet the habitus codes, embodied feelings and discursive practices of the individuals who constitute a nation play a powerful role both in the foundation of cultural relations and in the construction and maintenance of national identities (Maguire 1999, 185). One of the clearest reactions against globalization has been a move towards the construction of nostalgia, particularly in relation to sport. Sports can act as anchors of meaning in ...times where national cultures and identities are experiencing the effects of global time-space compression (Maguire 1999, 204). Sporting victories and losses can be remembered as national success or tragedies on a large political scale. Harvey and Houle (1994) take a political economy perspective on the globalisation of sport. They take issue with previous treatments of sports and globalization by arguing that in most of these analyses globalization gets conflated with imperialism. Instead, globalization should be seen as a series of processes (economic, political, cultural, etc.) that seek to alter the dominance of the nation-state towards integration across national spaces. In this way, sports are both shaped by and contribute to globalisation processes. Sport can also contribute to globalisation not


only through the creation of a global metaculture, but also by providing sites for the formation and maintenance of fragmented and segmented cultures that gather individuals separately from the nation-state. Economically, sports are contributing to globalization through the ownership of sports teams and sports equipment manufacturers that are often international in character. The authors are particularly interested in looking at the way that new social movements have used sports to develop infra- and supra-national links and a common ethos (Harvey and Houle 1994, 352). To demonstrate this, they give the examples of the feminist movements success in gaining greater equality for women in sports and the anti-racism movements success with the boycott of South Africa in the 1980s. The issue of territorial importance is analysed in Donnellys The Local and the Global: Globalization in the Sociology of Sport (1996) in which he looks at some of the major theories that have circulated about the different strands of globalization in sport, particularly the idea of Americanization. While these processes do have the capability to wipe out traditional sports, what is more interesting is the ways in which a developing sport monoculture creates vast areas of cultural space in which new sporting activities might develop and traditional sports may thrive (Donnelly 1996, 248). This is idea allows for a thinking about the ways in which globalisation may cause people to retreat into their local identities and thus re-invigorate interest in local/traditional sports. Building on the question of the local versus the global in terms of sports diffusion, Rowe (Rowe 2003) complicates the issue by suggesting that there is no clear answer as to which is favoured or lost in globalization. The sporting nation,


which symbolically manifests the hopes and aspirations of the nation in the body of the athletes in question, has deep historical boundaries that may cross nation-state boundaries and divisions of identity (class, culture, education, gender, religions, politics, ethnicity, etc.). These contradictions are enhanced by the fact that citizens play as team-mates in some instances and in other cases compete against each other. Sport is resistant to harder forms of nationalism because of its dependency on the idea of a sporting nation. Sporting events become more meaningful and powerful (and more open to exploitation) when they have socio-political significance. Sport can instead be seen as a perpetual reminder of the social limits to the reconfiguration of endlessly mutable identities and identification (Rowe 2003, 286). The sporting nation is not necessarily congruous to the sovereign, legal nation. International sport can, then, be a key marker of national fantasy or aspiration, but above all it is generative of a symbolic entity that comes into being by affixing a notion of identity that is likely to be an impediment to the free-floating cosmopolitanism so crucial to the ethos of globalization (Rowe 2003, 287). It is impossible that sport would be stripped of its identity building properties because they are the source of its power and the potential resistive impediments to globalization. International sports reliance on localized, national forms of identity offer resources for the mobilization of conscious and unconscious anti-globalization perspectives. In an increasingly cited piece, Sport, Identity Politics and Globalization: Diminishing Contrasts and Increasing Varieties Maguire (1994) argues for the use of a framework based on Norbert Elias civilization model for understanding the


interaction between sport and globalization. Rejecting the idea of a homogenising global flow does not mean accepting the idea that growth is unstructured or haphazard. Maguire turns to the idea of diminishing contrasts and increasing varieties (from Elias) to create a framework. Emergence and diffusion of modern sporting forms on a global scale are connected to broader globalisation/civilizing processes. This diffusion (late 19th Century) was also concurrent with the intensification of nationalism, the emergence of ethnic nation-states and the invention of traditions. Maguire argues, In this way, sport synthesised peoples habitus with the ongoing invention of political and social traditions to provide the medium for and barometer of national identification and competitive community struggle (Maguire 1994, 405). As modern sports become more diffused and widely played across the globe, the colonizing forces that were responsible for introducing the sport in question start to have their sporting supremacy challenged by former colonies, diminishing the contrasts between them in the field of sport. However, Maguire also argues that globalization processes involve multidirectional movements of people, practices, customs and ideas. In the global marketplace of ideas, goods and culture, indigenous groups have an active role to play in interpreting what they are receiving, thus there is an increase in the varieties of sporting practices and national teams will often play in a style that is seen to represent its specific national characteristics and values. Due to the increasing variety of sporting practices that become available through globalization, it becomes increasingly difficult to argue that each nation is represented by only one sport. In addition, globalization has introduced embodied nostalgia,


which allows for sporting disasters to be linked with the decline of the nation in general. Conclusion The literature that is emerging within the field of sociology of sport is increasingly cognisant of the fact that sport can represent a social or political force in peoples lives (particularly in terms of national identification) rather than solely leisure activity. Sport provides a significant example of how globalization does not necessitate the elimination of local identity and instead points to the paradox of globalization that sees a global outlook mixed with a local one. The literature reviewed presents a framework for understanding the different approaches that are taken to try and understand sport and demonstrates that sport itself is a more complex field than at first glance. The question of whether sports contributes to or is a stand against the homogenizing forces of globalization is a key question for Bara who are struggling with the problem of maintaining a local identity within a climate that is promoting internatioanlization. The work of Rowe and Bairner in this area will create a context for understanding Baras current policies and direction. Baras strong local identity is best understood within Bourdieus argument that recognised the important role that sport contributes to the formation and maintenance of a persons identity. This point is well illustrated in C.L.R. James work on cricket. It is through James political awakening through cricket that Baras true value and importance can be best understood.


Chapter 2-The birth of a Club and a political movement The history of the modern Catalan nationalist movement is intertwined with the birth and growth of FC Barcelona. It would be impossible to understand Bara without understanding the development of the modern political Catalan movement. It is within this relationship that the origins of Baras iconic slogan more than a Club can be found and understood. The idea of a Catalan nation dates back to the Middle Ages with the first recorded use of the terms Catalan and Catalunya appearing in 1150. From this period on, Catalan culture created a strong sense of identity amongst its citizens. This strong emphasis on culture is a defining feature of Catalan identity. It is unsurprising that in times of strife, that Catalan society would turn towards its cultural institutions to sustain itself. The 20th century in Catalunya (and Spain) is marked by conflict, in particular a civil war that was book-ended by two dictatorships that sought to destroy the Catalan nation. It was during these periods of silence and marginalization that the true value and importance of Bara was to emerge. This chapter will argue that Bara was able to play an instrumental role in maintaining and shaping Catalan identity through its ability to create a sense of solidarity which brought people and its ability to bridge the public-private divide by allowing some public demonstration of Catalan identity. The collapse Spanish empire with the loss of Spains overseas colonies in the Spanish-American war galvanised the nascent nationalist movement in Catalunya and raised important questions about the viability of the Spanish central state (Balcells 1996; Conversi 1997; Green 2007). The Spanish economy had been almost entirely dependent on its colonies, and their loss revealed the extent to which the Spanish state


had failed to modernise. Catalunya, unlike other regions of Spain which remained largely agrarian, had industrialised which expanded the ranks of the Catalan bourgeoisie increasing their financial and political power. Catalunyas self-perception as a nation dates back to Middle-Ages and the region did not come under the control of the centralised Spanish state until September 11th, 17144. Since the late 18th century, Castile had become the external threat that Catalunya positioned itself against. Catalans saw themselves as progressive, pro-democracy, European and modern in contrast to the conservative, Catholic and centralist Spain (Guibberneau 2004). Yet this sense of separate identity did not become a political movement until the late 19th century when the collapsing central state presented the possibility of new political configurations in the form of greater regionalism and de-centralisation. The romantic movement of the 19th century had inspired many nationalist movements throughout Europe and Catalunya was no exception. La Renaixena (renaissance) was a romantic revivalist moment that sought to promote the revitalization of the Catalan language through literature, theatre and other art forms. The movement was also accompanied by an effort to standardize the Catalan language. It was this cultural movement that inspired a renewed interest in Catalan culture that was necessary to inspire a political movement. An explicitly political Catalan organization, Centre Catal, had been established in 1882 at the Catalan congress of that year (Conversi 1997). The following year, the Congress passed motions calling for co-official status of Catalunya, economic protectionism, Catalan

Since the end of the Franco dictatorship and the re-establishment of the Catalan regional parliament, September 11th is celebrated as the National Day of Catalunya (La Diada) to commemorate the defeat in the Siege of Barcelona during the Spanish war of Succession (Green). The festival was celebrated for the first time in the open on September 11th, 1976 (Crameri, 31).


law and a central government for the region (Conversi 1997; Guibernau 2004). In addition, a motion was passed condemning Catalan participation in Spanish political parties. The first explicitly politically nationalist text appeared in 1886, written by Valenti Almirall (who would also establish the first daily Catalan language paper and was responsible for organizing the first Catalanist congress) entitled Lo Catalanisme. In this book, Almirall outlined a transition from regionalism to nationalism, emphasising Catalan character, mentality and language as being central to the development of a national identity (Conversi 1997). Almiralls vision of Catalan identity was based on the idea of a shared identity and imagined community, which clashed with the more conservative nationalist position of the Catalan bourgeoisie, who tended to view the central state more favourably. The bourgeoisie was only interested in regionalism to the extent that it could pressure the central state to pursue policies that favoured their economic interests. These two visions of the Catalan nation would soon come into conflict with each other, leading to a split within the Centre Catal with the right-wing forming the Lliga de Catalunya in 1889. The Lliga de Catalunya, advocated conservative Catalan nationalism, a vision of Catalan nationalism that fell well-short of separatism. In the conservative view, it was the duty of Catalunya to take a leadership role within Spain in order to contribute to the modernization of the state. The Lligas defence of Catalan institutions (i.e., their defence of the Catalan civil code in 1889) was not out of a belief in the romantic ideals of nationalism, but rather a belief that Catalunya would drive Spain forward. In 1891, the Uni Catalanista was founded as a coalition to bring together groups that advocated both federalism and regionalism. In 1892, the group produced the first


document outlining Catalan political demands. The programme entitled Bases de Manresea (named after the town which sits in the geographic centre of Catalunya) argued for: inter alia political autonomy, the replacement of the artificially imposed provinces with more natural comarques and municipis (town councils), the reservation of public appointments for Catalonians (by virtue of either birth or naturalisation), and Catalan as the only official language. The powers attributed to Catalonia should encompass taxation, coinage, legislative and executive authority, civil, penal and mercantile legislation, specific Catalan units for the army, a regional police force, and control of education by the municipi or the comarca (quoted in Conversi 1997, 21). While the declaration had limited popular impact, it would come to influence the demands of those at the elite level and shaped the direction of the movement. In 1897, the Uni sent a message to the Greek king expressing sympathy for the Cretans in their nationalist struggle against the Ottoman Empire. In response, Madrid sent the army to occupy Catalunya and cracked down on political activities. This move only deepened the growing sense within the region that Catalunyas interests were not being served by the central state and encouraged greater support for the persecuted leaders of the Uni. The 1899 loss of Cuba dealt a serious blow to the Catalan economy, which supplied the island with sixty percent of their imports. This spawned a new movement, Regeneracionismo, which believed that the Spanish state needed to be regenerated. Catalan forces within this movement articulated the position that Spanish malaise was the result of faulty centralism.


The year 1899 was also notable for the founding of FC Barcelona by Swissborn Hans (who later adopted the Catalan name Joan) Gamper. Gamper and the six others present at the founding of the Club were not initially looking to make a political statement. With the rise of the industrial bourgeoisie, there was an expanding interest in leisure activities and sports became a popular choice for young men (FCBarcelona, FCB Museu & Fundaci. 2007). In addition, Barcelonas position as an important port city had made it a magnet for foreigners for many years and football was introduced to Spain through the presence of English and Scottish migrant workers. The presence of foreign players in FC Barcelona reflected the character of the city and this openness to the rest of the world would become a feature of the Club for many years to come (Llobera 2004). The first few years of the Club were a struggle to remain afloat with the Club encountering many problems such as trying to find a ground on which to play. Grounds were limited and difficult to come by. Sports were mainly confined to the upper classes with the working classes mainly excluded through inaccessible facilities and long workdays. Football became one of the only sports whose appeal found popularity amongst all classes. The political landscape within Catalunya continued to undergo change during this period. In 1901, the first explicitly Catalanist political party, la Lliga Regionalista was founded. It was also the first year that Catalunya was able to hold local elections after the repression of 1897. While conservative Catalan nationalism was still popular in some quarters, more radical forms of nationalism were finding an audience5. The radicalization of the movement was influenced by the 1906 decision by the Prime
This was due in part the developing labour movement, which was becoming increasingly anarchist in orientation. Barcelona, in this period, developed a very strong anarchist movement. For more information see Daniele Conversi and Albert Balcells.


Minister to introduce a law that made insults against the army and Spanish national symbols a criminal offence. This led to the closing of Catalan newspapers and an uprising in Catalan society. In 1909, a general strike was called by the Anarchists and the Syndicalists, which led to the introduction of martial law and a revolt by the residents of Barcelona. The reaction of the government and the army to the strike became known as the setmana trgica (tragic week) in Catalan history for the violence and destruction that the army wrought on the city (Conversi 1997; Balcells 1996). This left an indelible mark on the Catalan consciousness and foreshadowed what was to come. In 1911, it was proposed that the four provinces of Catalunya should be united into one administrative unit. Two years later, it became a reality along with the establishment of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya (a proto-regional government). By 1917, the radical turn in Catalan nationalism had been manifested in a greater commitment to Republicanism and commitment to the promotion of the Catalan nation (assaults on symbols of the Spanish state, i.e. the flag and the promotion of Catalan illegally in universities). This coincided with the growing strength of the anarchist and labour movements. The Catalan nationalist movement was not dominated by one social class (Llobera 2004). Where the class difference could be felt was in the differing versions of what the Catalan nationalist movement should look like. Between 1910-1913, football in Spain underwent a transitional period as its accessibility and popularity grew. By 1913, Bara had undergone a change from an amateur to professional sporting Club. With the outbreak of World War One, Gamper


was forced to resign the post of Club president since his Swiss-German roots were regarded with suspicion. He was able to regain the post again in 1917 and with his second term came a renewed commitment to furthering the interests of his adopted home. The end of the WWI raised the profile of football as social and media interest increased exponentially. Baras position as Catalunyas Club was confirmed in 1918 when the Club formed part of the pro-autonomy campaign prompting the paper, La Veu de Catalunya (The voice of Catalunya) to write The miracle was a matter of a moment, of a Catalan Club, Futbol Club Barcelona, which has become a Catalan Club (FCBarcelona, FCB Museu & Fundaci 2007, 42). This symbolic declaration in the newspaper confirmed a relationship that had grown in the preceding years. In 1914, Gamper had lent his support6 to Catalan Olympic Committee in their attempts to get official recognition for a Catalan team. In 1920, Gamper travelled with the Committee to the Antwerp Games in order to meet with the head of the Olympic Association to discuss the possibility of a Catalan team and of hosting an Olympic games in Barcelona (FCBarcelona, FCB Museu & Fundaci 2007, 43). In 1922, the Club unveiled their new permanent home, Les Cortes stadium with a capacity of 30,000. At the time of its construction it was one of the most modern and prominent stadiums in Europe. At the same time, the political landscape was changing. In 1923, the less conservative party Accio Catalana won in the local elections which led to the signing of the Triple Alliance, uniting Catalunya with Spains other two historic nations, Galicia and the Basque Region (Conversi 1997).

Since the founding of the Club, Gamper had gone on to solidify his position in Catalan society by marrying into a prominent Catalan family and through the success of his shipping business. This, plus his involvement in the Club, meant that he was prominent voice in Barcelona (FCBarcelona, FCB Museu & Fundaci. 2007).


The post-WWI period also saw an increase in interest in Catalan culture beginning with the creation of a National library in 1914. The 1920s saw a huge jump in football spectatorship spurred on by the growth of radio, advertisement sand the expansion of leisure time (FCBarcelona, FCB Museu & Fundaci. 2007, 53). The expansion of leisure time came as a result of the developing labour movement, which also brought with it social change and unrest. In 1923, dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera (father of Primo de Rivera, who would create the fascist Phalange party) was allowed to retain power by the King Alfonso XIII after he overthrew the parliament in the interest of restoring unity and peace. One of di Riveras first actions was to crack-down on the burgeoning expressions of Catalan identity. Within days of his seizure of power, the Catalan language and flag had been banned and any acts against the unity of the state were punishable in a military court. Sport became a particular target of the regime with the government moving to shut down the Mancomunitats department of Sports and Physical Education as well as the Catalan Olympic Movement (FCBarcelona, FCB Museu & Fundaci 2007, 53). On June 24th, 1925, Les Corts stadium hosted a tribute to the Catalan choral society. When an English band played the Spanish national anthem, it was booed by many in the crowd of 14,000. Seen as an attack on the unity of the state, the stadium was closed for five months, the Club condemned for its separatist attitude and Gamper was exiled back to Switzerland. In his personal life, Gamper was devoted his adoptive home sharing with the nationalists a vision of a modern and free Catalunya. This commitment to the interests of both the city and the Catalan region carried over into his vision of the Club. From


the beginning Gamper always believed in the possibility of the Club having deep links to the community. This relationship was solidified through the 1920s, but this relationship would take on an entirely new dimension and meaning in the next decades. From Recognition to Repression The end of the di Rivera government in 1930 and the formation of the Republican government in 1931 had a very positive effect on Catalunya. In the same year, a coalition of leftist parties, the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) was formed and came to power in municipal elections. A Statute of Autonomy was overwhelming approved in a plebiscite and the Generalitat (the Catalan regional government) was re-formed in 1932. The Club also continued to pursue policies that supported the cause of Catalan nationalism. In 1935, Josep Sunyol was elected as Club president. Sunyol was well-known for his political activities including his involvement in the left-wing Esquerra Republicana (Republican left) and his creation of the weekly magazine La Rambla. As president, Sunyol pursued a policy called Sport and Citizenship which argued that sports had an important role to play in developing the values (such as loyalty and good health) that were critical to developing good citizens. In addition, sports presented the opportunity to bring people together and develop a sense of collective identity (Burns 1999; Finestres 2004). When civil war broke out on July 17th, 1936, Francos Nationalist forces found little support within Catalunya with the exception of the bourgeoisie who felt that Franco would be more supportive of their economic interests (Conversi 1997;


Guibernau 2004). In response to attempts by the anarchist workers movement to take control of the Club, the board dissolved itself on August 20th, 1936 and was replaced by a workers committee. This decision was not taken for purely political reasons, but was mostly motivated by a desire to retain control of the Club (Burns 1999, 115). With the country in political turmoil, the national league dissolved and most teams aligned themselves with local political leaders and played benefit matches for the soldiers in the area (Burns 1999, 116). The same year, a Catalan championship was organised for teams in the region. Like many citizens in the region, Bara players along with their counterparts on Athletic Bilbao joined the fight against the military insurgency (Goig 2008, 59). With gate receipts falling and the political situation becoming increasing tenuous, the Club was facing an uncertain future. In April 1937, the Club was invited by a Mexican businessman to tour the country for a fee of $15,000 (US) and all the expenses paid. Given that Catalunya was one of the regions that was still resisting Francos advance, the tour was always going to have a political edge with the team representing not only Catalunya, but Republican Catalunya (Burns 1999, 119). The tour continued into the United States and before the teams expected return to Barcelona, the players were given the choice to return to Barcelona or to remain as exiles. Of the sixteen players that travelled on the tour, four chose to return to Barcelona with the rest going into exile, mostly in Mexico and France (Burns 1999). In October of 1937 the Republican government moved its base from Valencia to Barcelona (Payne 2004). One March 16th, 1938, Nationalists forces dropped bombs on Barcelona including one that landed on the Clubs social Club causing serious damage.


Catalunya held out until Febrary 5th, 1939, with Girona the last Catalan city to fall. The region experienced particularly high levels of retribution and oppression.7 Measures implemented included the elimination of all Catalan references from the public sphere; the burning of hundreds of Catalan books; the removal of all signs and posters in Catalan; the banning of Catalan as a spoken language in the workplace and at the state government level and the removal or transfer of teachers with Catalan sympathies; the removal of Catalan subjects from the universities and the purging of professors in these areas; and the banning of the flag and the anthem (Burns 1999; Conversi 1997; Green 2007; Guibernau 2004). Bara did not escape the new regimes notice and changes were made at the Club. The anglicised name Football Club Barcelona was hispanized to Club de Football Barcelona and the crest was changed, changing the flag from the Catalan (with four red stripes and five yellow stripes) to the Spanish two red stripes. This led to a difficult period of squad re-building in the 1940s. The most traumatic incident in the civil war was the execution of Club president Josep Sunyol on September 28th, 1936 by Nationalist forces.8 With the region once again facing repression once again, there was a need to find other ways of maintaining a connection to the regions Catalan identity. The Clubs increasing identification with the Catalanist cause seems to have been the result of two main phenomena: the Clubs ability to bridge the public and private spheres and the Clubs ability to bring together people. With the ostensible
More than half of all political prisoners executed or put in forced labour camps were from Catalunya (Conversi 1997). 8 Sunyol was found in 1996 while excavating the mass graves left by the civil war. The discovery of his body meant that an official memorial to Sunyol could be erected and he was able to fully incorporated into Baras historical narrative ( Josep sunyol (1935-1936)).


elimination of Catalan from the public sphere, Catalan and Catalan culture retreated to the private sphere. Catalan continued to be spoken in homes, but the expression of a Catalan identity had no outlet beyond the family. Bara allowed for a collective expression of Catalan identity and the guarantee that solidarity amongst citizens still existed, which fostered a commitment to ensuring the maintenance of Catalan identity. Montserrat Guiberreau explains, The submission of Catalan society in the public sphere encouraged a tacit agreement and fostered a specific feeling of solidarity among Catalanssharing a situation of danger and collective oppression (2004, 51). It was in the Camp Nou that this solidarity found expression or in the words of ex-Bara board member Antoni Rovira, During the Franco years, Barcelona and Catalunya hid themselves in the colours of Bara (Interview by author, February 5th, 2008). Other attempts to create some public space for Catalan culture grew, but their impact on the majority of citizens was limited. Clandestine publishing efforts began soon after the defeat of fascism at the end of World War Two. The end of the Second World War ushered in a period of optimism for Catalunya, with the hope that the defeat of fascism would put pressure on the Franco regime. While this hope was not fully realised, beginning in the midforties, there was some publishing of classic works in Catalan (Conversi 1997; Guibernau 2004). In addition, clandestine presses began springing up, attempting to publish books and newspapers in Catalan. The Catalan language has long been considered key to the maintenance of Catalan identity and there was a concentrated effort on the part of the middle and intellectual classes to keep the language alive. This strategy found less success amongst the rural and urban working-class, as they


did not have access to the clandestine circulation of Catalan literature, (Guibernau 2004). Supporting Bara was a form of resistance that was available to all members of society. Early in the dictatorship, it became apparent that cultural resistance would provide the best opportunities for resistance. Armed struggle was not seen as a viable strategy by the anti-Franco opposition in Catalunya, in contrast to their Basque counterparts.9 While perhaps not thought of in the same category as literature, I would argue that the resistive possibilities that Bara offered counted as a cultural resistance because of its ability to bring together people from diverse socio-economic positions. Football, embodied by Bara, was the greatest cohesive cultural force in society (Eaude 2008, 253). Sports were a major part of the fabric of both Spanish and Catalan society and had the ability to include a large number of people. As an organising principle, Bara had a great potential to help sustain the Catalanist movement. Reflecting the plight of the region, Bara suffered a decline in the early 1940s, including nearly getting relegated in 1942. Despite poor results, the Clubs position solidified and members were returning to the Club. Historian Josep Sol i Sabat has written of the 1940s: A society shivering under a white terror that extended to the language and culture of the countrySport was a place where the population could feel freerFC Barcelona was the refuge and the cradle, diluted and vague, of the essence of Cataloniathis feature maintained it and made it grow right down
There was a group of armed Catalan guerrilla fighters, the Maquis, active mainly in the Pyrenees. However, they only numbered 12,000 and had limited support and success. They never approached the success and support of ETA in the Basque Region (Conversi 1997; Guibbereau 2004).


to today. In addition, it welcomed all the new-comers, the other Catalans, who were then arriving in growing numbers to search for work and a better future, (quoted in Eaude 2008, 258). Having taken away all other symbols of Catalan identity, there was an understanding on the part of the regime that it could not take away Bara. The Franco regime recognised early on that football could be used as a way of distracting the population from the poor economic situation and the governments political repression. Given the popularity of football, it was an easy way of engineering a sense of Spanish national identity and an instant sense of unification. In addition, success at sports on the international stage was an easy way of raising Spains international profile. With the defeat of fascism elsewhere in Europe, Spain was isolated from the international community and would not be welcomed back until the start of the Cold War in the late 1940s, when Francos anti-communist policies were appreciated (Conversi 1997). Cultivating rivalries between teams was seen as a way of allowing a controlled expression of separatist identities (Eaude 2008). While the regime recognised the value of allowing Bara to succeed, there was a desire on the part of the regime to strip it of all political power. As Jimmy Burns writes: The regime wanted the abandonment once and for all of any notion that Bara was more than a Club. The hand-picked board was there to ensure that there could be no return to the days when the Club could be used as a political Trojan horse against the government of Madrid on behalf of Catalan nationalism. Equally, the regime was conscious that football as a mass sport was something that could be turned in its favour, and that if crowds were to be


drawn to Les Corts again, Bara would have a team worth watching (1999, 130). However, the Club was able to resist Francos attempts to drain the Club of meaning and their symbolic power continued to grow, which was beyond the regimes control. One critical error the regime made was its belief that it could manipulate or de-politicise the Bara crowd. This was evidenced by the reaction to the strike in March 1951, the first organised protest since the end of the Civil war. The strike was in response to an increase in tram ticket prices in Barcelona and included demonstrations by students and workers. During a Barcelona home match against Racing of Santander, pro-boycott leaflets were distributed in the stadium. When the crowd was let out, most fans chose to ignore the trams the regime had placed near the stadium and chose to walk home in protest (Ball 2001; Burns 1999). Baras power lay in its ability to bring people together, to have them stand in solidarity week in and week out. The stadium became the new political arena and with the building of the Camp Nou, Bara finally had a suitable physical embodiment of its symbolic refuge. Camp Nou Despite the presence of Francos appointees as board members, Bara continued to function as a democratic body. The democratic nature of the Club can be characterised by two main features. The first is that membership in the Club is open to anyone who is able to afford to join. The second is that members are entitled to voting rights, which allows them the power to determine the President of the Club, approval of the budget and the right to trigger a vote of non-confidence. The monetary requirement does limit access to the democratic aspects of the Club in terms


of allowing all the supporters to participate equally in the running of the Club. There is also criticism of how the Clubs democratic instruments function, but these criticisms are directed towards improving their functionality rather than making claims that the Club is anti-democratic. This democratic effort was a safe haven for the Catalan people as the only democratic body that was allowed to operate under the regime. In 1950, the decision was made by the members to move Les Corts to a new ground.10 The construction of the stadium was to be funded by the members and thus it took four years to raise the funds necessary to complete the project. When ground was broken on March 24th 1954, it was the largest public engineering project that had ever been undertaken in the city (FCBMuseu 2008). The original plan had been to name the stadium after Club founder Joan Gamper, but the Franco regime suggested that this would not be looked upon favourably given Gampers pro-Catalan nationalist ideology. In its place, the stadium was given the name Camp Nou, simply meaning new ground, (FCBMuseu 2008). The stadium finally opened on September 24th, 1957 with an original capacity of 93, 053.11 The importance of the Camp Nou will be explored further in another chapter. Rivals The Club has two main rivals, Real Madrid and RCD Espanyol who are also based in Barcelona. In recent years, a debate has opened up about the extent to which

Coincidentally (or not, though no one will admit this explicitly), this decision was made at the same time that Real Madrid was unveiling their new stadium. Real Madrid has wanted to build the largest football stadium in the world as a way of solidifying Madrids status as the centre of Spain (Burns 1999). When Bara made their new stadium proposal, it just happened to include more seats than the Bernabu. 11 The capacity of the stadium has varied since its inauguration. Its capacity increased to 120,000 for the 1982 World Cup, but was reduced again in the late 1990s to 98, 772 due to new UEFA safety regulations (, 2008). The recently approved renovation of the stadium will see its capacity increased by 10,000 seats. Despite these fluctuations, it remains the largest stadium in Europe.


Real Madrid benefited from being Francos favourite team or whether they themselves were victims of Francoism (Goig 2008, 59). What is clear is that the answer to this question would not change how FC Barcelona views its capital rivals. The images of these two teams are far too entrenched to change at this point. Real Madrids symbolism may have changed since the Franco period from an emblem of the dictatorship and the false unity of Spain, into the embodiment of centralization and a receptacle for Catalunyas frustration with the central government (Burns), but the animosity is still as intense as ever. The feelings of hatred cut both ways and Real Madrid supporters are not fond of Bara either. While Bara fans came to see Real Madrid as being the embodiment of Franco, Real Madrid fans came to see Bara as the separatist scum. These two sentiments continue to pervade the encounters between these two sides, which are referred to as el classico. As discussed, the Bernabu and the Camp Nou were born within ten years of each other and as much as the Camp Nou is a built expression of Catalan identity, the Bernabu is a physical testament to the regimes oppressive nature: The Bernabu stadium is the castle occupied by the forces of reaction, violent oppressors. No time for tourism here. Just the brutal reminder of a rivalry that has lasted for decades, fuelled by the authoritarianism and paranoia of one side or the other, maintained by a complicity of interests that range from the power of the governments to the genuine faith of the ordinary fan in the team that has been inseparable from his or her life since birth, (Burns 1999, 34).


Even the fact that stadium was re-named after its president Santiago Bernabu12 rankles those in Catalunya. Bernabu was a fascist and close ally of Franco who orchestrated Real Madrids stunning rise to the top of European and Spanish football in the 1950s and 1960s, winning La Liga twelve times and the European Cup six times. This was particularly difficult as the 1960s were a particularly fallow period for Barcelona. While most major European cities have a dominant and secondary football team, nowhere is this more acutely felt than in Barcelona. Espanyol13 defines the idea of a second team having a smaller fan base and stadium (they currently play in the stadium built for the 1992 Olympics, but are moving to their own 40,000 seat stadium in the Barcelona suburbs), (Colom 1997). Espanyol was founded in 1900 on the basis of providing a Spanish alternative to the Catalanist Bara. In the early days, Espanyol was Bara greatest rival as a meeting between the two Clubs was symbolic of the conflict between the statist and Catalanist sentiments in Catalunya.. While the 1960s was a bad period for FC Barcelona; it was a good period for Catalunya economically. Francos economic policies began producing results and Catalunyas strong industrial infrastructure allowed the region to benefit economically. It quickly became one of the most prosperous region in Spain, which attracted citizens from the
Bernabu was responsible for the Di Stefano affair, which is pointed to as one of the major examples of the preferential treatment that Real Madrid received. Alfredo Di Stefano was one of the most promising players in Argentina in the 1950s and Bara had sent representatives to Argentina in order to sign him. At the time, Spain had restrictions on the number of foreign players in the league, but Bara thought they had worked around it. In the end, they were not allowed to sign Di Stefano, but intervention from Franco allowed Real Madrid to swoop in and sign him from under Barcelonas nose. Rumour has it that Franco could not stand the idea of the best player in the world playing for Barcelona. Di Stefano went on to become one of the best players in the world and a Real Madrid legend. This affair continues to haunt Barcelona to this day and is spoken of as a great affront to the Club (Ball 2001; Burns 1999). 13 The Club switched from the Spanish spelling Espanol to the Catalan spelling Espanyol in the mid1990s. In the interest of simplicity, I will refer to them by their current spelling.


poorer regions in Spain, in particular Andalusia. The Franco government encouraged this immigration, believing that an influx of Spanish-speaking people would help to dilute the sense of Catalan nationalism that persisted. The policy brought two million immigrants into the region within a ten-year period. If Francos thinking was to be followed, then the support for Espanyol should have ballooned given that Espanyol had been the team founded on the principle of providing a team for the pro-Spanish part of the region. Baras pervasiveness in the region is such that new immigrants saw their support of the Club as path to integration into Catalan society. Supporting Barcelona was a way of instantly feeling part of the new community they were living in. As one supporter puts it: And yet supporting Bara was the way of feeling part of something that went above the mediocrity of life, of submerging in the wider universe, of being able to cry and laugh and not be punished for it. It was also a way of being seen to give thanks, for the immigrant cannot survive long if he is deemed to be ungrateful. Thanks to Bara, the immigrant could hold his head high on Sunday and say, I am Catalan although I come from Andalusia, (Burns 1999, 41). The importance and impact of Baras ability to successfully integrate immigrants will be discussed further in the next chapter, but this influx of Spanish speaking immigrants was one of the first challenges that the region faced. In contrast, the decision to support Espanyol could also be perceived as a political one as it represented an alignment with the idea of a singular Spanish identity.


A New Dawn Francos death on November 20th, 1975 may have ended the regime, but Spain was faced with a strange situation in which the dictatorship disappeared, but the public administration and state institutions remained intact. This meant that transition to democracy would still need to involve those close to the regime, in particular the army. The writing of the Constitution was fraught with problems, as it needed to appeal to both Francoists and anti-Franco forces, which explains why some parts of the constitution are ambiguous. Catalunyas ability to organise politically in the early 1970s meant that they were in an ideal position to demand a seat at the constitutional table. The 1978 constitution did not grant Catalunya all the political power that its representatives had been arguing for. While the constitution recognised Catalunya, the Basque Region and Galicia as historic nations, it was within the context a Spanish nation. The constitution sets out a program for devolving power to the regions and allows for the three historic nations to accelerate this process. Spain was divided into seventeen regions, and in an effort to balance the claims of the historic nations, each was granted the possibility of gaining devolved powers. This has led to resentment on the part of the historic nations and a desire on the part of the other Spanish regions to develop separate identities in order to access more power and EU funds (this will be discussed further). While the new Constitution is an improvement, it has not satisfied the claims of the Catalan nation. The Club held their first post-Franco democratic elections in 1978. In 1979 two important events occurred. The first was the passing of the Catalan statute of autonomy, which re-established the Catalan Generalitat and


included in its preamble an reaffirmation of Catalunya as a nation separate from Spain (in contrast to the Spanish constitution), (Catalonia 2006). The second was Barcelonas victory in the Cup Winners Cup in Basle. The 30,000 fans in the stadium chanted pro-Catalan slogans and waved Catalan flags, drawing European attention to the issue of Catalan nationalism (Ball 2001; Burns 1999). In addition, it provoked widespread pro-autonomy celebrations in towns throughout Catalunya. Within this space of dissatisfaction, Bara continues to flourish. The Club has been able to adapt itself to changing circumstances and continues to be an important force in the region and internationally through its participation in international competitions.


Chapter 3-Representing Catalunya Throughout FC Barcelonas history the Club has been involved in key moments in the history of Catalunya and has solidified its position within Catalan society. While there is no doubt that Bara saw themselves as a Catalan Club before Franco came to power, the role that the Club came to play was drastically altered by the dictatorship. Bara became a critically important space for working out and maintaining Catalan identity in a climate where this was discouraged, particularly in the public sphere. Bara was able to flourish because it was not perceived as being a political organization and was thus not seen as a threat to the state. Instead it was allowed to exist as a space where Catalan identity was able to find a collective voice. While Catalan continued to be spoken within the private sphere, the link that Bara provided to the public sphere allowed for the maintenance of a sense of collective Catalan consciousness. The importance of solidarity should not be underestimated, particularly in times of adversity, which can produce isolation. Bara developed a sense of shared Catalan identity. This sense of shared Catalan identity is supported and nurtured by the community activism that the Club engages in. Yet this engagement may sometimes come into conflict with the commercial interests of the Club resulting in tension between the communitarian and commercial goals of the Club. While the question of community is clearly vital to Baras self-perception, the Club is first and foremost a football team and thus is also motivated by commercial concerns. This is becoming increasingly clear and important in the postFranco era. This places Bara in the interesting and sometimes complicated position


of trying to balance the Clubs financial/commercial needs and its more community oriented goals. In order to understand how Bara balances its role as a football Club and as a community/social organisation it is useful to see Bara as operating at three different roles or levels: as a cultural/community organisation; as a political/national organisation and; as a commercial venture. While the divisions between these three roles is rarely clear-cut and may not represent the Clubs self-perception, it does allow for a better understanding how the Club operates with different and sometimes conflicting goals. While the first two roles often work together in harmony, it is with the third role as a commercial venture that tensions are most likely to arise. Initially it was Baras role as a commercial enterprise that may have allowed the first two roles to develop by shielding the Club from the di Rivera and Franco dictatorships efforts to crush Catalan nationalist sentiments. Now in democratic Spain, it may be Baras commercial interests that are making it difficult for the Club to negotiate its first two roles. In order to understand how Bara operates, it is critical to establish who is defined as being part of the Catalan community. Who is a Catalan? Michael Keating and others (Keating, 1996; Conversi 1997; Guibernau 2004) have suggested that that most widely accepted definition of Catalan identity is derived from living and working in Catalunya.14 This definition is widely accepted and from

This naturally leads to the question about what this means for the Catalan Diaspora that was mainly created in the wake of the end of the civil war, which saw the exile of many Catalans. 130,000-150,000 Catalans disappeared or were exiled which amounted to 4.5 % of the 1936 population (Guibernau 2004). During the Franco period, there was a Generalitat in exile led by Josep Taradellas that was very concerned with issues related to Catalan nationalism and the return of Catalan autonomy. Many of these figures returned to Catalunya with the return to democracy. As for the Catalans that chose not to return, there is no literature at present on whether or not they retain a sense of Catalan identity or not. There is no worldwide census on Catalan speakers, so it is impossible to know how many Catalan



the inception of the Catalan political nationalist movement, Catalan identity has almost exclusively been defined in civic terms (Conversi 1997; Green 2007; Guibernau 2004). Ethnic definitions of identity have found very little traction and were largely regulated to the fringes of political debate. This open definition of identity is reflective of the Catalan value of cosmopolitanism and openness to the world. In addition, the idea of an open nationalism was seen as another way that Catalunya was different from Spain. Under Franco, the conception of the Spanish nation was based more on essentialist ethnic-religious ties and was hostile to foreigners. During this period, Spain cultivated a view of themselves as being different than the rest of the Europe. While Catalunya also saw themselves as being different, it was not a hostile difference because the region had a history of immigration and had already been exposed to the presence of other Europeans. Baras player recruitment policy is a direct reflection of the larger debate about Catalan identity, fielding players from all over the world. As discussed earlier, the 1960s saw an immigration boom in Catalunya, which saw the influx of 1.4 million new immigrants to the region (Green 2007; Guibernau 2004). Given the climate, it is interesting that many of these immigrants integrated into Catalan society, given the dominance of Castilian culture at the time. These immigrants did not have access to Catalan language acquisition and it is unclear what their exposure to Catalan and Catalan culture would have been. With so many of the other cultural symbols driven underground (the flag, the national anthem Els segardors, and the national dance La Sardena), Bara became the easiest route into a

speakers there are outside of Europe, although there are reports of Catalan-speaking communities in Latin America (where many of the civil war exiles went).


sense of belonging in Catalan society. There was some concern that a return to a Catalan regional government and a more nationalistic regional policy might create a more ethnic nationalism that would be alienating to citizens not born in the region, but this kind of racist nationalist rhetoric was largely confined to the intellectual margins (Conversi 1997). Daniele Conversi argues: In Catalonia, attempts at stigmatising and segregating the immigrants have been defeated by several factors. First, the natives traditional predisposition to redefine their ethnic borders in flexible terms helped to limit segregationismSecondly, as working-class leaders and nationalists formed a common front of resistance against Francoism, Catalanism was assumed by relevant fringes of the immigrant proletariat. Thirdly, Catalonias economic vitality made its original inhabitants into a reference group for the newcomers. Fourthly, the Generalitat more recently took over the main instruments of secondary socialisation, particularly education, (1997, 220). The question of how to integrate immigrants to Catalunya into the new regional government has been vitally important since the transition. Since the return of the Generalitat, Catalan nationalist leaders have sought to create a definition of Catalan identity that would include newcomers to the region. Jordi Pujol, the most prominent Catalan nationalist politician and first president of the Generalitat, was quick to establish the idea that a Catalan is someone who works and lives in Catalunya as a way of easing any concerns that the transition to regional government was going to be predicated on an ethnic definition of identity. One of the key slogans in the campaign for the 1979 statute of autonomy was All those who


live and work in Catalonia are Catalan, (Woolard 1986, 56). The Catalan constitution defines Catalunya as a nation (Generalitat de Catalunya), but this definition does not include any criteria for inclusion in this nation, which means that anyone can become part of the nation. Many immigrants came to support Bara and this helped to ease tensions that could have arisen at the moment of the transition when the Generalitat pursued a policy of language naturalization that saw Catalan become the main language of instruction in school, among other policies that sought to encourage the use of Catalan in the public sphere. The law of language normalization was passed in 1983 and made Catalan and Spanish co-official languages meaning that citizens ad the right to deal with the government in either language (Payne 2004, 257). This was not met with the widespread protests that were expected.15 Within Catalunya, Catalans have always been seen as middle-class whereas as non-Catalan speakers were seen as being working-class (this division can be seen to a certain extent in the division between the support for Bara and Espanyol). In this way class identity may be a stronger societal cleavage than ethnic qualifiers (DiGiacomo 1986). Supporting Bara and learning to speak Catalan could be perceived as a way of improving ones class position and was thus not seen in a negative light. In Beyond a Boundary, C.L.R. James argues that games come to represent something about the culture in which they are played; they reflect a nations values and sense of self. This is certainly true of Bara, which prides itself on having a style
There has been some alienation among the Castilian-speaking population which culminated in the formation of the Ciutans de Catalunya (Citizens of Catalunya), which is a party with an explicitly antiCatalan nationalist platform (Balfour 2007, 38). In addition, there has been some recent criticism over the extent to which immigrants do find Catalunya a welcoming environment and whether Catalan nationalism is truly a form of civic nationalism (Cards i Ros 2005).


of play that is exciting to watch and filled with skill, often in contrast to the more workman-like Real Madrid. No matter how skilful or famous an individual player may be no one is bigger than the team and what the team represents. It does not matter from where in the world a player comes from as soon as they arrive at Bara, they are taught about the importance of the Club (this will be touched upon again later in discussion about the museum). It is critical that every player know what is at stake when they pull on their jersey. From its creation, Bara has been a Club open to the world and this includes the presence of foreign (those born outside Catalunya) players in the team. This is often compared to the policy of Athletic Bilbao, a Club that occupies a similar position in the Basque country and which only field players that are from the Basque region or of Basque descent.16 The differing approaches that Bara and Athletic take to fielding teams reflects the different ways that these two nations have come to define their members. In the Basque Country, Basque identity is more likely to be tied to an ethnic definition that places more importance on birthplace and family lineage than shared language and values. In Catalunya, language and shared values are seen as being important measures of identity. As a cultural institution, Bara contributes to the transmission of these shared cultural/national values. Culture and Politics Near the beginning of Beyond a Boundary, C.L.R. James writes, Cricket had plunged me into politics long before I was aware of it. When I did turn to politics I

Athletics policy has undergone changes and debate over the last few years, reflecting a larger debate in Basque society over who is Basque? For a greater discussion of Athletics policy see Play Fresh, Play Local: The Case of Athletic de Bilbao, Juan Carlos Castillo, Sport in Society, 10.4. 2007: 680-697.



did not have much to learn, (James 1963, 65). For James, cricket raised a political consciousness before he even knew what political consciousness was. Replace cricket with football, and Bara functions in a similar way for its supporters. While the tenor of this political consciousness may have changed from resistance under Franco to the struggle for recognition since 1975, Baras position within Catalan political consciousness remains. What makes Bara so powerful is similar to what James identifies about cricket, on the surface it appear as just a game and thus outside the traditional political and social realm. Outside this traditional realm, it is open to interpretation and use by the people in question and allows people to think about their identities. The Camp Nou becomes an environment where for ninety minutes all the factors that might be divisive in life (class, race, gender, etc.) are subsumed by a greater unity: that of loving Bara. It is this love of Bara that is the hoped for basis for building a sense of collectivity and solidarity with the others in the stadium and gives rise to a consciousness of shared identity and values. As a Club, Bara takes this question of building shared identity and values very seriously. The three values of the Club are community spirit, Catalanisme and universality and the Club tries to embody these values in all its activities, in particular through their charity work (which will be explored in more depth below). Yet it is within this desire to build community that the first tensions between Baras various roles might begin to show. In addition, it raises possible questions about the limits of Baras ability to operate as a truly transformative social force. Bara was able to function as this entry into Catalan society in part for the reason that James identifies, as just a game it is not immediately clear that a political


consciousness is being developed. If one of the most difficult aspects of national identity is the idea of the imagined community, then Bara might offer a concrete example of where the community moves from the imagined to the real (Duke and Crolley 1996, 34). The team is a concrete entity with all the symbols typically associated with a nation (crest, song, flag and colours), which is what made it such a convenient cover during the Franco regime. The language that is used to describe the attributes of the imagined community is often based around a discussion of values that can be difficult to articulate. Bara is able to mediate between the concrete and the symbolic aspects of Catalan nationalism. Yet Bara does not simply replicate the symbols and myth making of Catalan nationalism. The Club also sustains its own myths about the kind of community the Club is building. An example of this was FC Barcelonas centenary celebrations in 1999, which bore the slogan El centenerari de tots (Everyones Centenary). Phil Ball argues that the ambiguity of this statement means that it could speak to a diverse population of Bara supporters whether they be all of Catalan society, the more nationalistic Catalanist community, Spain or even the rest of the world (2001, 84). While this statement provides a perfect example of the kind of message the Club wants to represent, it also raises another important question about the gap that might exist between what the Club believes and projects to the world and the actions and beliefs of the supporters in the stadium. Openness to the world is embodied in Baras team, which fields players from around the world. Baras support cuts across class and political lines. Barcelona has one of the most diverse supporters bases of any European football Club. Most Clubs have a fan base that is predominantly male and is concentrated in the 35-50-age


range. Of the socio members (the only supporters that the Club has official data on), the gender balance is split 77% male and 23 % female (FCBarcelona FC Barcelona yearbook 2007). While this is not nearly equal, it represents a higher percentage than most Clubs.17 Baras support is also spread across age lines with the highest concentration in the 26-35 and 35-45 range with 16.5 % each. Yet in total this only represents 33% of the fan base. This is also different from most Clubs where you do not see as many older people and young children and teenagers at matches. The geographic distribution is also interesting to note with 40% of supporters in Barcelona itself, 49% in the rest of Catalunya and 11% in the rest of the world (which will be discussed later). This shows the extent to which the Club is able to represent the whole region and unite the entire Catalan community. Nowhere is this coming together move evident than in Camp Nou. The Camp Nou as cultural/national instrument The Camp Nou stands as an important structure to both Bara and the city of Barcelona. It is a defining architectural monument in the city and its importance has not diminished in recent years. It is still seen as an important gathering point for citizens in the city. The decline of large public meeting spaces and/or their restriction

The presence of women in Camp Nou was mentioned in several conversations with supporters. It was stressed that the Camp Nou has historically been friendly and open to families (which means children, women and the elderly) in contrast to the perception that football stands were hostile places for women. Under Franco, the participation of women in the public sphere was severely limited and women had virtually no rights (for example, women needed their husbands permission to work outside the home or open a bank account), (Nash,1991, 107).While there is currently a lack of information and research on the experience of female Bara supporters (who would have been subjected to a double-repression as women and Catalans), there seems to be a suggestion that the Camp Nou may have provided an opportunity for autonomy in a public space. The Womens movement has historically been one of the strongest in Spain and a leader in advocating for greater gender equality post-Franco (Nash 1991). While legislatively, the laws have changed, the main problem is that cultural norms are much slower to adapt, which may explain the slow movement of female fans at other Clubs and the lack of attention they receive.



for political reasons have contributed to the stadiums rise in importance. John Bale argues: The Stadium is a phenomenon of modern urban life. It is the stadium rather than in the city square, the concert hall or the cathedral that we find the largest urban congregations, at pre-ordained times and at regular intervals, to witness sporting rituals and records (Bale 1995, 1). As Bale demonstrates, the stadium has become a prominent site of collective cultural identification. This is certainly the case for the Nou Camp, which has became the site of collective Catalan cultural identification and key tool for ensuring the continued development of solidarity amongst Catalans. With Catalan and all Catalanist symbols having been pushed into the private sphere, the public sphere was bereft of opportunities for the collective expression of identity with the exception of the Camp Nou. It was its ability to bring people together and engender a sense of solidarity that has given it its symbolic power, which remains today. Jimmy Burns writes, As an enduring collective expression, it is in the Camp Nou that Catalans both forget and honour their history, and defy the loss of ideology in the modern world with their very own unity of faith, (1999). It is difficult to describe the symbolic power that the stadium holds; the history seems to reverberate off its walls. Simon Inglis writes, Full to the brim, however, the Nou Camp presents us with a wall of humanity, (1990, 197). It is hard not to be taken aback by its sheer size, given its capacity of slightly under 120,000, but even compared to smaller stadiums it holds something different about it. It feels part of the community, its walls privy to the pain, dreams and aspirations of its members.


While there is a desire to see identification amongst all the supporters in the stadium, there is no guarantee that this is actually happening. Spectators in the stadium may identify with the team and the stadium but not with each other. The phenomenon of topophila, provides an explanation of how the Camp Nou creates a sense of attachment to its physical structure and the team it represents. Niels Kayser Nielson provides a definition: Topophilia refers to the ties that unite humans and their material surroundings, especially the ties that combine emotion and placeThe concept of topophilia refers to both the physical-spatial surroundings and to the more or less mysteriousand possibility quasi-religiousaspects of the experience. The place with which topophilia is basically concerned is characterised as authentic, carrying from time to time the stamp of the secular shrine; that is to say, a place, which does not derive its meaning from habit or incidental hunches (1995, 26-27). John Bale suggests that topophilia recognises the relationship between the stadium and a place of comfortthe home. The stadium becomes instrumental in encouraging a comfortable at-homeness within a city, which can often be alienating and lonely. The stadium becomes a part of the citys urban heritage, a distinct landmark in a peoples mind (Bale 1993, 64) and in Baras case a refuge. The importance of this sense of solidarity that the stadium allowed was underscored in interviews of supporters, even those too young to have experienced Francoism. For the older supporters, the Camp Nou became a space where the imagined community flourished, a community that was both Catalan and anti-fascist.


Without having to ask, one could imagine their neighbour as part of the same nation. As one supporter put it: Out in the city, Fascism was very visiblethe names of streets, the Falangist crests, the portraits of Franco, the flagsbut in the stadium you were among the masses and I feltmaybe I was imaging it, but I felt it all the samethat everyone around me was really anti-Fascists deep down, at least where we were standing (Burns 1999, 140). Many supporters echoed these sentiments. The stadium became a space where the aggravation of living under the dictatorship could be expressed and released. While younger supporters are free to express themselves as Catalan in all spheres of their lives (and all the supporters I interviewed identified themselves as Catalan), the stadium and their support of Bara more generally, was an opportunity to enact this identity. While the political landscape has changed, the Camp Nou retains its important place in developing Catalan identities. Stadiums become extensions of the cities in which they are located. Built into the urban landscapes, stadiums are meant to extend the city and its meaning. Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya and is seen as being representative of the region. Bara is also a representation of the city. Niels Kayser Nielson argues: Furthermore it assists in influencing city life by providing a framework for the outward representation of the city. That is to say, the city influences the stadium, just as the stadium influences the city; the stadium landscape is both staged by the city and a staging of the city. It is an extension of the citys streets and street life, while at the same time, it differs in that, as in the duality


found in the theatre, it provides on the one hand a distinct, formalised and aesthetic staging, and on the other, an arena for the agon, which in the city streets is silently expressed (1995, 21). Particularly, when built in urban environments, the stadium is constructed to suit its surrounding location. Sport teams build a sense of communal spirit that can more attractive than other types of civic ritual because of their serialised nature (Bale 1993, 56). Unlike holidays or parades, team sports events take place multiple times a year, which allow for a deeper sense of commitment and sense of place to grow. Allegiances to sports teams also have the advantage of effacing class difference. In place of class, race or gender allegiances, sports teams encourage a sense of attachment to a place, the city and the stadium in which the team plays (Shobe 2008). This deep identification with the city is certainly reflective of Camp Nous position within Barcelona to the extent that it is recognised outside the region. The FC Barcelona museum located in the Camp Nou stadium is the most visited museum in the region, which demonstrates the extent to which the team has become a part of the Catalan national discourse. Football is seen as one of the few activities in Spain that cut across the class, regional and national divides within Spain (Wharton 2007) and while this may be used to encourage a sense of communal identification and tolerance, it can equally be manipulated to gloss over the real problems of racism, sexism, classism and regionalism that exist. This question of effacing difference is particularly important in the current context of Spanish football, which has been marred by accusations of racist abuse


being commonplace in the league (Spaaij and Vias, 2005). While it seems fair to assume that they share a love of Bara, it may be one step to far to assume that they share a love for the diversity of Bara supporters. There is also a disconnect between the cheers and support that Baras fans show to their own minority players and the abuse they direct at minority players on the opposing teams. This contradiction was evident in the 2004-2005 season where Bara supporters were chastised for their racist chanting at Real Madrids Brazilian full-back Roberto Carlos (Dickinson 2004; Farred 2008) only one season before Baras Cameroonian striker Samuel Etoo threatened to leave the pitch in protest at the racist abuse he received against Real Zaragoza (Hughes 2006). The Club wants to project the idea that all Bara supporters are part of the same family and community and while they Club may genuinely believe that this is true, it points to a potential tension between what the Club aspires to and the reality on the ground (and in the stadium). One of the problems present in European football is the presence of ultra groups who often have ties to the neo-fascist movement. Bara has not been exempt from this problem with Baras ultras group, Boixos Nois, being accused of racist chanting at a Real Madrid match in 2004 and members of this group were implicated in attacks on immigrants in March and August 2003 (Spaaij and Vias 2005). Under the current regime of Joan Laporta, there has been a crackdown on the neo-fascist element of this group (Euade 2008). The Club has shown a commitment to combating racism in the stadium and racist behaviour is not tolerated. In addition, the anti-fascist skinhead organization Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP) is active in Catalunya (Spaaij and Vias 2005). While these are isolated incidents and Baras


record on the issue of racial abuse is substantially better than many other Clubs (Spaaij and Vias 2005), these incidents reveal two important issues. The first is that there is clearly a gap between the tolerant attitude of the Club and the feelings of the general population of supporters. The second and perhaps most important issue is that, as the 2004 chanting incident indicates, even if these tolerant feelings exist amongst Bara supporters themselves, it does not extend to those outside of the Bara family. Despite its size, the Camp Nou cannot fit everyone that identifies himself/herself as a Bara supporter at one time. It cannot even fit every person that pays to become a member or socio, with the figure currently standing at 156, 366 (FCBarcelona FC Barcelona yearbook 2007). Coupled with the Clubs desire to be part of the discussion on national identity, there is a commitment to develop relations with fans outside of Barcelona as well. There are Bara fan Clubs, known as penyas, throughout Catalunya and the rest of Spain (there are also international fan Clubs, but they will addressed in the next chapter). Penyas in Catalunya were used to promote a sense of collective identity and to reach out to those that could not access the stadium on a regular basis (Ball 2001). Penyas outside of Catalunya in the rest of Spain were used as a way of building solidarity and providing a space for Spaniards that identified as anti-fascist to feel solidarity with others that supported that position. Bara was known as a symbol of anti-fascism and pro-democracy in the rest of the country and encouraged the building of solidarity across these lines under Franco. While the anti-fascist aspect of the penyas has diminished in recent years, the commitment to building solidarity and cultural identity is still there. The penyas are


one of the instruments that the Club uses to promote the use of the Catalan language and Catalan culture by providing funds and support for penyas that want to hold cultural festivals and educational events (Crolley 2000, 46). This matches the ambitions of the board to retain and promote a strong sense of Catalan identity. The current board came in with a desire to revive the symbolic side of the Club. There was a perception that a return to success for Bara would be dependent on their ability to re-invigorate their traditional support base and engage with the community. The importance of Baras fan base cannot be underestimated because, as board member Toni Rovira explained, Bara would not have been able to attain the position it occupies without the desire and will of the citizens of Barcelona (interview by author, February 5th, 2008). Given this relationship it is critical that the Club engages in a positive manner with Catalan society and most of the programs that Bara engages with are aimed at children and youth and immigrants to Catalunya, maintaining their position as a first point of contact for new arrivals in the region. While Baras community work is clearly in keeping with the values it seeks to promote, it also points to one of the central tensions the Club is currently mediating: the tension between the Clubs desire to be socially responsible18 and its commercial interests. This is not to suggest that the Club does not believe that it should be socially responsible, only that the Clubs charitable turn has generated a commercial

The language of social responsibility is fraught with many implications of corporatisation. In Baras case, I use it to refer to the Clubs efforts to participate in programs that they feel reflect the needs of, and assist, the community of which it sees itself as being a part. The Clubs definition of community has been gradually expanding to include spaces outside Catalunya and Spain. The Club also sees its obligations in this area as being driven by the desires of its members. This is justified by pointing to members' continued support for Baras budgets, which include these campaigns, and the positive feedback that has been shared with the Board.



gain. This tension will become increasingly central in the next chapter when looking at the Clubs work outside of Catalunya. Toni Rovira suggested that Bara engagement with Catalan society has three dimensions. The first dimension is a solidarity dimension that aims to help marginalised communities mainly by providing sporting equipment to disadvantaged children. The second is a civic dimension that encompasses the Clubs educational initiatives. The Club works with the government of Catalunya and the local government running programs in schools that aims to teach the values of fair play and sportsmanship19. In 2005-2006 this program, Eleven Values and Sports ran in 500 schools and reached over 10,000 students. Interestingly, Baras educational initiatives are part of a program called Play It! Sports and Citizenship. This is meant to be a direct reference to the sport and citizenship program initiated by murdered president Josep Sunyol in the 1930s tying the Clubs current work to its important history (, Sport & Citizenship, 2008). The third is a linguistic and cultural dimension, which is where some of Baras more nationalistic commitments can be found. The Club is strongly invested in programs that seek to promote the use of the Catalan language, particularly among young people. The Club donates money to Catalan language education programs including one aimed at students with learning disabilities. On match days, the program and all stadium announcements are done in Catalan and the Club encourages the languages use among its supporters. The Club sponsors the Manuel Vzquez

Despite sharing a similar tag line, Baras efforts in this area are not directly related to the Nike campaign with a similar tone. Bara players do appear in some of the Nike ads, but their participation is a result of private endorsement deals with the brand and are not the result of Nikes sponsorship deal with Bara, which has been in place since 1998.



Montalbn Award, which awards two prizes in journalism. Montalbn was a famous Catalan journalist and devoted Bara supporter who was commited to raising awareness about social issues. There are two award categories: Sport Journalism and Political and Cultural Journalism. This award seems to reflect the Clubs perception that it is about more than sport since most Clubs would not be interested in promoting political journalism. The Clubs belief that sport can be a vehicle towards social change and understanding also finds a place in its Tot Colours (All Colours) futsal (indoor football) tournament, which is based on the principle on encouraging understanding and tolerance. The tournament is promoted as being intercultural and interterritorial in order to encourage the values of solidarity and civic values. The tournament is made up of teams from all over the region and encourages the participation of recent immigrants to the region. Acknowledging the Nation The return of democracy and the greater recognition of Catalunya raises the question as to whether Bara has diminished as an important symbol of national identity, particularly in the face of an increase in cultural and political avenues with which to identify. While the precise role that Bara plays may have changed, it still remains an important vehicle for identification, as the views of supporters clearly articulate. This is also, at least in part, the result of Baras position as one of the most important international projections of Catalan identity. Bara is known throughout the world as being more than a Club, as representing the region/nation in which it is located. Bara games are televised all over the world, particularly the Champions


League20, perhaps granting the idea of an autonomous Catalan nation its most important exposure, particularly in the face of the failure of other promising avenues (Baras international importance will be spoken of at length in the next chapter). The European Union would on the surface appear to offer opportunities for other kinds of recognition given its existence as a body that sits outside the nation-state system. Unfortunately, the EU is made up of nation-states that jealously guard their status and rebuff any moves that appear to challenge the supremacy of the nation-state. Even the EUs regional organizations have failed to provide the cultural/social/political channels that Catalunya aspires to. The main regional body is the committee of the regions, but it is only a consultative body that has no impact on actual legislation (Balfour and Quiroga 2007; Guibernau 2006). Two main problems restrict the effectiveness of this body for Catalunya to advance its goals. One, the regions on the committee are not all equal in terms of how strong their regional identity is meaning that most are not interested in pushing for greater recognition on the basis of separate national identities. This means that the level of political/social/cultural development of each region on the committee differs dramatically. Two, it is only a consultative body and any position or power that Catalunya can seek within the EU structure is entirely dependent on Spains acquiescence since the EU remains a nation-state system. One acrimonious aspect of the EU is the EU regional development fund, which in conjunction with the structure of the Spanish state has created tensions within Spain (Guibernau 2006). The promise of EU regional development has
The Champions League is a yearly tournament organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). It is a very prestigious tournament in which the best teams from all the domestic European Leagues compete to be crowned best Club team in Europe.


contributed to the development of strong regional identities within Spain in regions where previously none existed. Some regions are even claiming that they are also historic nations in a bid to acquire EU regional development funds and increased devolved powers from the Spanish state. This has created tension with the three historic nations who feel that they should have the highest amount of devolved powers as they see themselves as being distinct in a way that other regions are not given that they were never repressed on the basis of their identity. Perhaps the most pressing issue is the campaign to have Catalan declared an official EU language as it is currently only seen as a regional language. Currently only a nation-states official language can be named an official EU language. The issue of language rights is one that Bara feels strongly about and Club president Joan Laporta has spoken in support of the Catalan language, given that it is the 10th most spoken language in the EU with over 10 million speakers (Guibernau 2006; Laporta 2005). The Spanish government in conjunction with the EU has made some concessions on this issue by striking a series of agreements in 2006 and 2005 that would allow Catalan, Galician and Basque speakers to address the Committee of the Regions, the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman in their native language with interpretation and translation paid for by the Spanish government. Currently Catalans acceptance as a EU language is dependent on Andorras acceptance into the EU, where Catalan is the official language (Guibernau 2006). FC Barcelonas Catalan Nation As mentioned, FC Barcelona has a well-articulated vision of its identity, which claims three core principles: community spirit, Catalanism and universality.


This identity was present at its founding in 1899, but has been tested and strengthened in the years since. Having become the de facto receptacle for Catalan sentiments and identity during the Franco period, the end of the dictatorship brought a crossroads to the Club. The transition to democracy would introduce new (and not so new) ways of expressing Catalan identity that would possibly compete with the Clubs position. How the Club responded to this shift in its possible importance would affect the future of the Club. Rather than try and compete with emerging forms of identification, the Club sought to maintain its importance by aligning itself with the nascent political parties. Baras efforts were greatly rewarded by recognition on the part of political organizations that Bara was an important and enduring institution. The Club could deliver bodies in an unprecedented fashion. Jordi Puyol, who would emerge as the most important nationalist leader during the transition, has written, Bara is like other folkloric manifestations of our peopleMontserrat is another examplea reserve we can draw on when other sources dry up, when the doors of normality are closed to us, (Burns 1999, 194). On November 17th, 1974, 6,000 Bara supporters gathered at Montserrat.21 The gathering was a political statement celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Clubs foundation. The early 1970s saw a weakening of the regime, which opened up some space for political and cultural expression. In this period the Club became used increasingly to push a nationalist agenda. On the same day as this celebration, Pujol announced the foundation of a new nationalist political

Montserrat is a monastery located outside Barcelona that has historical significance as a symbol of Catalan resistance. During the Franco period, Montserrat was used as a shelter for cultural resistance to the regime, which allowed the publication of materials in Catalan under the protection of the Catalan Catholic Church.



party, the Convergncia Democrtica de Catalunya (CiU). The gathering of Bara supporters coincided with the foundation of what was to become the dominant Catalan nationalist party. With the 1969 election of Agustin Montal as Club president, Bara moved into a period of political activity that starting articulating a more political form of Catalan nationalism. Montals election ushered in a period of Catalanization of the Club. In 1971-72, the Club became open supporters of the campaign Catala a lEscola/Catalan in School, which demanded that Catalan become once again the language of instruction in school. This increase in militancy drew attention from the regime and in 1971, Montal and his junta were called to Francos palace and instructed to defuse the growing militancy that was being displayed by certain elements of the Club (Burns 1999, 219). This was not followed, and the process of Catalanizaiton continued. By 1972, the Club returned to using the Catalan language over the loudspeakers at matches. Montal had also declared that the institution of the Club supported the idea of an autonomous Catalan state (Burns 1999, 196). During this period, links to Puyol continued to strengthen. In addition to his role as Catalan nationalist (for which he spent five years in prison), Pujol had made his name as a head of a bank. During this period, Bara became increasingly associated with Pujols bank and his nascent political movement. Pujol saw the Club as being a key ally and vehicle for maintaining the concept of Catalan nationalism as a living force, particularly since its president, Montal, was an easily manipulated ally, (Burns 1999, 219). The Club might refute the idea that they were easily manipulate, but what is important is the way in which Bara was acknowledged as being an important ally in


any effort to build a Catalanist movement. These moments in Baras history reflect a flirtation with party politics, which raises another of the tensions facing Bara between retaining a politically neutral Catalanist stance and becoming an explicitly political organization. When the current board took over in 2003 with the election of Joan Laporta, the Club was undergoing a kind of identity crisis. After the heights of the dream team of the late 1980s and 1990s culminating in the winning of the European Cup in 1992, the Club had fallen into financial difficulty and off winning form. The Club had also failed to continue to capitalise on the special position it occupied in Catalunya. One of the major problems was that the board had fallen into a pattern of cronyism under the presidencies of Nunez and Gaspart. Laporta has risen to prominence in the Club by participating in the Pink Elephant group that sought to overthrow Nunez in the mid-1990s. The previous two regimes were also seen as having abandoned the traditional values of Bara and were not dedicated enough to the cause of Catalanisme. For the most part, Bara tends to distance itself from regional politics. As in its early history, the Club does implicate itself in some political issues like providing support for promotion of the Catalan language. Yet on the other hand, the Club would never go so far as to endorse a political candidate nor has the Club explicitly outlined it vision of Catalan nationalism. Baras not committal attitude is understandable given their desire to appeal to a diverse group of Catalan citizens. If Bara were to be too closely aligned with a particular party or position (like Catalan separatism) then it may alienate supporters who do not share those views. The Club may also prefer to


distance themselves from political parties and politicians in order to maintain their status as being outside power. This is another way that they can differentiate themselves from Real Madrid, who even after Francos death, is supported by many Spanish politicians (this only works at the national level as regionally Bara is the team of choice for members of the Generalitat). The question of Baras political orientation raises one of the biggest silences that seems to exist within the Clubs narrative which presents a coherent and united position on the question of politics. Yet one has to wonder the extent to which the board and supporters are all united on this position. Is there tension and debate amongst the board? Is the Club truly as ideologically neutral (in terms of abstaining from traditional party politics) as it wants to presents itself? The inaccessibility of the boards decision-making process makes it difficult to answer this question. It also raises questions about the quality of the organization's democratic structure, wherein members retain the right to vote and approve the budget, while most of the Clubs important decisions get made behind closed doors. The Clubs political ambiguity is perhaps best expressed in the Clubs iconic slogan mes que un Club. In 1968, Club president Narcis de Carreras famously declared that Barcelona was mes que un Club or more than a Club. At the time it was a reference to the position that Bara represented in both Catalunya and in Spain, where it also stood as a symbol of anti-fascism. This statement pervades the Club and is deeply ingrained in its thinking. The metaphorical meaning of the statement more than a Club has become more complicated in the post-Franco period. Whereas before the meaning was clear, referring to the Clubs status as a symbol of Catalan identity and a resister


against the regime, the statement is being slightly re-defined as the Club looks for ways to internationalise its message. Recently, the Club has sought to emphasize the ambiguous nature of the statement, leaving it to each supporter to define the way in which Bara has become more than a Club in their own lives. In an interview with Bara board member Antoni Rovira, he told me: FC Barcelona is more than a Club in Catalonia because it is the sports Club that most represents the country and is also one of its greatest ambassadors. Also, for different reasons, FC Barcelona is more than a Club for many people living elsewhere in Spain, who see Bara as a staunch defender of democratic rights and freedom (interview by author, February 5th, 2008). This quote characterises the different sentiments the Clubs slogan has come to embody. The idea of democratic rights and freedom are particularly important to understanding the ways in which the Club sees itself as being about more than simply a successful sports team and what sets them apart from other football Clubs. The work that Bara does in the community is a way of remaining important in the community by becoming involved in the most important issues facing the region (integration of immigrants, promoting the use of Catalan, etc). It is a way of making the Club relevant to the lives of its members beyond match days and to be important to the non-football community as well. Non-football fans that I spoke to mentioned the importance of Bara in Catalunya due to their work in the local community. It is these kinds of efforts that make Bara more than a Club. The work that Bara does reflects the best values of Catalan identity and reflects a positive


image of its supporters. Bara is not only engaged with reflecting its supporters, but it is actively engaged in shaping and producing the way that the Club wants supporters to see themselves and how they want the world to see its supporters. The work that the Club does in the community allows supporters to feel good about themselves and creates an ideal that they can feel part of, regardless of whether this reflects the true character of supporters. There is a conspicuous silence on the extent to which Baras values truly reflect the values of its supporters. As rich and full as Baras history and engagement with Catalunya has been it is also punctuated by silences. The most critical silence that is currently facing Bara relates to the tension between its cultural/community and national dimensions on the one hand and its commercial interests on the other.


Chapter 4-At Home Abroad? In the 1974 season, Football Club Barcelona had the worlds best player Johann Cruyff in their side. A Dutchman, Cruyff would come to be adored and revered by the Barcelona faithful. This adoration was mutual with Cruyff quickly taking to his adoptive homeland where he became sympathetic to the plight of its citizens.22Cruyffs participation in two events that year made him a Bara legend. The first was a historic 5-0 win over Real Madrid in the Bernabu stadium in a season that saw the Club become league champions.23 The second involved the birth of his son, Jordi, named for the patron saint of Catalunya as a show of his appreciation for the support of the Bara faithful. Upon the familys return from Holland, Cruyff attempted to register Jordis birth. However under Franco, it was illegal to register babies with Catalan names. Cruyff insisted that his son be registered as Jordi instead of the Spanish Jorge and rather than engage in a dispute with the most famous player in the world, the Franco administration acquiesced making Cruyffs son the first baby to be registered with a Catalan name since the end of the civil war (Burns 1999, 214215). This story demonstrates the extent to which the identity of FC Barcelona is bound up with the history of Spain and the Catalan nationalist movement. Yet it also demonstrates that the identity of FC Barcelona has always been shaped and influenced by the presence of foreigners.

Cruyffs political engagement would extent beyond Catalunyas borders when he chose to forgo participating in the 1978 World Cup to protest the conduct of the Argentinean military junta (Farred 2008). 23 This match has become a key part of Bara folklore. Colom relates that there are Bara supporters who are only half-joking when they suggest that this match marked the beginning of the end of the Franco regime (Colom 1997).



Football has always been a global phenomenon in terms of the number of people around the world that played the game, but it was not until the1990s satellite television boom that football gained a global audience. The leagues that benefited the most from this boom were the traditionally strong European domestic leagues, in particular the English, Spanish and Italian leagues. This opening up of potential markets coupled with other economic and cultural forms of globalisation forced most top European Clubs to rethink their relationship to their domestic leagues and more importantly to the communities in which they are located. Suddenly, there was a belief that survival hinged on growing a Clubs fan base beyond its nation-state borders. For many Clubs, the solution has been an attempt to universalise their Club, often through an effort to move away from geographic specificity. Stadiums remained important, but not as sites of community identification and building, but as places that people aspired to visit. Clubs are desperate to tour Asia, South and North America in search of new fans and consumers of Club merchandise. However, for Bara this question is more difficult because of its political identification as one of the embodiments of Catalan identity demands a geographic connection. While other Clubs may be turning away from their local identities in order to make themselves attractive in the global marketplace, Bara is looking for ways to incorporate its Catalan identity into how it sells itself as a Club. The idea of emphasising a deeply local identity as a way of gaining ground internationally may seem like an odd strategy at first, particularly in light of some of the ideas about globalization weakening local identities. This theory fails to take into account the position of sport as one of the strongest expressions of national identity


that continues to endure in the globalizing world. Baras development of an international fan base is important for two reasons. One, from a purely financial standpoint, it is an excellent way to increase revenue by securing better television deals and the sale of official Club merchandise. This allows the Club to purchase better players, expand the stadium and to certain extent control the price of tickets24. Two, Baras profile internationally is a significant platform from which to enlarge the international profile of Catalunya as a nation distinct from Spain. Hunter (2003) argues that in a globalizing world, sport is going to continue to grow and become more important as a site for the expression and of the shaping of national identities, particularly for what he calls pseudo-nationalities, although they might more accurately be called sub-state nationalities. Bara is one of Catalunyas most recognisable product and the Clubs international success raises awareness about Catalunyas position as a sub-state nation. Sport will also continue to persist as a site of national expression because it is often more adaptable to the current definition of the nation in question. Dave Rowe (2003) argues that the sporting nation is able to endure within the framework of globalization because its historic boundaries have crossed nation-state borders and ethnic, political and class lines, which makes it more adaptable to change than traditional nation-state. I would go further and argue that the sporting nation has the advantage of giving a visible dimension to a nation-states policies and myth making,

Barcelona has a different ticket price scheme based on whether someone is an official member/season ticket holder or is simply attending a single game with the membership tickets being significantly lower. The logic is that a person who is attending one game for the experience will be willing to pay more than someone who is coming week in and week out. This scheme is not unique to the Club, but it does serve an important purpose of keeping the socios (the name given to Bara members) happy since it is the members that vote for the board.



particularly in cases where the nation-state may be seeking to overcome a negative period in their history. For example, Frances multi-ethnic 1998 World Cup winning side has been credited with helping to change the perception of France as a racist country or in Baras case, their claim to being a team open to the world is demonstrated by the presence of many nationalities mixing on the team. While it is true that that the reality does not match the lofty ambition of the team (racism still exists in France and Bara has not been immune from the problem of racism in the French league), it does provide a powerful visual image of how the nation wants to see itself which can have a huge impact at home and abroad. This is an example of how sport can be used ideologically to further the interests of the nation-state or in Baras case can undermine the nation-state by producing a challenge to the idea of a unitary Spanish team and nation. Whos Club is it? The question of balancing home and abroad speaks directly to the problems facing Baras efforts to develop a global image for themselves. Alan Bairner developed the concept of glocalization to explain the extent to which sport and nationalism have resisted the forces of globalization (Bairner 2001). In this view, citizens cultivate their local identities as a protection against the dislocating forces of globalization. This idea begins to explain why Baras international growth at the end of the nineties and into the 21st century was built on a return to their local identities. In the 1980s, Bara under the presidency of Antonio Nunez, focused on moving the Club into a new era by shying away from Catalan politics. Nunezs reign brought many positive changes to the Club such as the 1982 foundation of the museum that


bears his name and the appointment of Johan Cruyff, a larger than life figure in Barcelona, as coach who led to the dream team success of winning the Champions league final (a feat that would not be repeated until 2006). Yet the Nunez regime had its problems beginning with Cruyffs dismissal in 1993. Nunez had become increasingly autocratic and had moved the team away from its traditional identity and the team became saddled with a significant amount of debt. Immediately following Nunezs resignation, one of his cronies Joan Gaspart was elected president. In 2004, Joan Laporta, a leader of the movement to oust Nunez in 1998, was elected president on a platform of sound business practices and crucially, a promise to re-emphasise the Clubs Catalan heritage. This return started to pay off. Baras finances improved and in the 2006/2007 season they were the second richest Club in the world (behind Real Madrid) with a revenue of 291.1 million euros (Deloitte 2007). In addition, the success on the field continued with the team winning both the league and the Champions league in the 2005/2006 season. The current board is largely credited with returning the Club to its Catalan roots. According to ex-board member and vice-president of institutional affairs, Antoni Rovira, the Clubs strategy to get back on track needed to be through a return to their Catalan roots while concurrently trying to position themselves in the international marketplace: The big goal of Bara today is not only to reinforce Catalan identity, but if we want to grow internationally we cant go with our Catalan flags because not everyone knows Catalunya. With Catalan flags, we can continue our growth in Catalunya., but in Spain and the rest of the world, that is difficult. And so


we thought, why not the flags of solidarity, why not the flags of the global community, of tolerance, of non-violence, of peace and fair play. This is our fight now. In Catalunya, Catalanisme, in the rest of the world, fair play et solidarity What does Bara have (in terms of what it offers the world)? We only have our little flag of liberty. We cant do business with that.We believe that we must win the battle of values. We believe that football Clubs must show social responsibility or they will no longer exist. Se we are absolutely convinced that we must implicate ourselves in segments of society that have problems, both here and in the rest of the world. We have the obligation, with a great instrument football, to help humanity, (interview by author, February 5th, 2008). Baras efforts to export these values, emphasised again and again as Catalan values, reflects what Hunter argues is the role that sport is playing in re-defining national identity in the currently globalising world. Bara is taking the parts of Catalan identity that have an appeal on a global stage and find resonance with diverse peoples. As discussed in the previous chapters, the definition of Catalan identity from the beginning was open and flexible. This open definition is critical to the Clubs ability to project itself internationally and to universalise a sense of Catalan nationalism in a credible way. If there was not already an understanding that Catalanisme was an open identity then the idea that it could include people that are not ethnically Catalan would be resisted. Instead, Baras efforts are looked upon


favourably for the ways in which they increase the attention paid to Catalunya. The Clubs commitment to social responsibility and the exportation of Catalan values is expressed through more than just words. These policies find their concrete expression primarily through the work of the Fundacio Barcelona, or FC Barcelona Foundation. While the Foundation was founded in the early 1990s, its charitable activities increased significantly under the current board. The Socially Responsible Club The most public and well-known example of Baras commitment to exporting these values was through the agreement that they made with UNICEF in 2006. The Club agreed to give 0.7% of its profits to UNICEF every year for five years, which translates to roughly $1.5 million Euros per year (interview by author, February 5th, 2008; The Details of the Alliance, 2008). In addition to the monetary support that Bara gives, it also donates its name and the names of its players, who actively participate in UNICEF advertisements and campaigns. This agreement is historic for two reasons. One, it was the first one of its kind between a sports team and a charity. In addition, the act of charity cleverly undermines a common stereotype of Catalanthat they are cheap and unwilling to share their money. By including charity and commitment to social responsibility the Club is trying to change the way in which Catalan identity has been perceived from the outside as well. Two, it represented the first time in the Clubs history that advertising has appeared on the jersey. The inclusion of advertising on jerseys came into practice in the late 1970s as an additional revenue stream. Bara has historically refused to


include advertising on their jerseys because of the shirts position as a sacred symbol (the only sign that did appear on the jersey was the logo of the manufacturer). Shirt sponsorship generates huge revenues and Baras refusal to allow it to desecrate its jersey stood out as a romantic gesture in the current climate of Clubs desperate search for as much revenue as possible. In 2006 when the deal was struck with UNICEF, Bara had also been in negotiations with commercial enterprises including an online betting company (Eaude 2008). In the end, the deal with UNICEF was a strategic victory by maintaining the tradition of the jersey and increasing the profile of the Club. This indicated a key moment in Baras effort to balance between their cultural and commercial interests. There was a moment when Bara could have gone completely in the direction of its commercial interests by accepting the sponsorship of the betting company. While the reasons have never been explicit as to why the Club went in the other direction, it is plausible that the move would have been a step too far in the direction of commercial interests for Bara supporters. Instead the Club had an option that was in keeping with their articulated values, but also had the potential to bring in revenue by raising the international profile of the Club through the media attention the Clubs various charitable projects. The question of the financial advantages of the UNICEF deal go largely unasked and answered, but it seems fair to argue that if the UNICEF deal would not have benefit the Club, it would not have been chosen. The deal could serve as a reaffirmation of the Clubs importance in Catalunya as representing the values of its people. One could argue that it had a ripple effect on other Clubs throughout Europe by raising the bar for what it means to represent your


geographic location. Football Clubs, prior to satellite television, were community institutions and had deep ties to the local community. While Clubs continue to pay lip service to the importance of the community in which they are located, this is often happening at the same time that the local population is being priced out of attending matches. Baras ties to the community are well respected, mainly through its continuation of being owned by its members who have elect the board that represents their interests. The issue of Barcelonas democratic organization may seem insignificant in some ways, but its structure is a great point of pride for its members who truly feel that they have a stake in the Club. Many of the people I interviewed both those officially affiliated with the Club and regular supportersspoke of their pride in this structure. While this kind of ownership was common in the past, fewer Clubs are now run democratically and owned by its members. Board members are not paid and Club presidential elections are seen as serious business with real campaigns. Currently in Spain there are three other Clubs in Spain that are owned by their members: Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna (both from the Basque region). It is worth noting that three of the four Clubs that are owned by its members are located in Spanish regions that have strong sub-state nationalist feelings and sentiments with Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao being intimately connected to these movements. This form of Club ownership means that community members have a clear voice in the direction of the Club and that there is significant support behind the Clubs decisions, including approving the decision to support UNICEF, since the Clubs budget, from which the donation to UNICEF comes, is subject to the scrutiny


of its members. The UNICEF decision demonstrates that the Club has an extended definition of what its community isit now includes the rest of the world. Other Clubs appear greedier and further removed from their communities in contrast, which has prompted some Clubs to increase their charitable efforts as a way of reconnecting to the communities in which they are located. It is too soon to tell whether Bara find themselves as trendsetters by realising that long-term growth of football audiences will continue to depend on the Clubs commitment to its geographic location. Less publicised than their relationship with UNICEF have been Baras ties to UNESCO and UNHCR. With UNHCR, Bara has extended its fair play in school programs to refugee camps. Mr. Rovira emphasised that Bara attempts to do their charitable work with humility and in partnership with other agencies and that it is not about marketing, arguing, This is not marketing because refugees will not bring money, (interview by author, February 5th, 2008). This question of the motivations is particularly relevant in the case of Barcelonas XICS (International Network of Solidarity Centres) program, which has opened schools in the 20 most impoverished countries in the world ( XICS International Network of Solidarity Centres 2008). The XICS schools are educational centres, not football academies. Mr. Rovira emphasised that the schools were opened in partnership with local agencies and governments to respond to the individual needs of the community. This emphasis is needed and relevant in order to draw a contrast with the football academies of other Clubs.


The forces of economic globalisation and a loosening of EU labour restrictions have increased the number of players from South America and Africa in European domestic leagues. The financial opportunities that the European leagues provide are far greater than those that are available in the players home countries and these players are much cheaper for Clubs to acquire than home-grown talent. In order to be able to have first and easier access to talented young players in the developing world, a recent trend has been the establishment of football academies that are tied to European Club teams (Magee & Sugden 2002). These academies are purely focused on the development of football skills with an eye towards moving the most talented players overseas. Since football is a sport played mainly by men, at least at professional levels, girls in these countries do not have access to these opportunities. For many, these football academies are seen as being a form of neo-imperialism which extracts local talent without contributing to the community. These football academies do not seek to develop local talent with an eye towards improving conditions in their communities. This is why it is critical that the schools that Bara have established are not seen in the same light as these football academies. Baras schools in addition to being run in conjunction with local agencies are focused on a holistic education and not just sports. This is not to say that sports is not part of the curriculum or that Bara would not show an interest in a young player of exceptional talent, but the education being offered to students is not contingent on them showing football aptitude or based on gender. The tension between the marketing side and the cultural side is clearly on the mind of the board and those that make these decisions at Bara. During our interview,


Toni Rovira mentioned on multiple occasions that marketing concerns did not motivate Baras decisions regarding UNICEF and its other charitable efforts. While not disputing Mr. Roviras claims, this conflict is clearly present in how the Club makes decisions. The Club does not need to apologise for being financially successful or for benefiting from the publicity and revenue that these decisions bring. Yet this tension may in some ways be a false one. Baras ability to do the kind of charity work they would like to is largely dependent on their ability to bring in large revenues. In this sense, the Clubs commercial efforts are instrumental to ensuring the success of its cultural and political roles. Baras worldwide charity efforts bring prestige and allow Bara members to feel good about themselves, that they are able to support a Club that behaves in a manner that reflects their own values. It is the FC Barcelona Foundation that is responsible for the charitable activities of the Club both abroad and in Catalunya. Baras relationship with UNICEF is a well publicised relationship internationally and it is a relationship that is easily recognisable on the part of international supporters because it is easy to connect to the values that Bara is seeking to promote. Football support is a very personal affection, as Baras relationship with Catalunya demonstrates, and the Club one supports says a lot about a person. It might connect you to your family or your community or your socio-economic position or it might even say something about how you identify politically. In this regard, Baras political orientation and commitment to social responsibility might attract fans to the team. Above all, once someone has committed to a Club the perception is that it is your Club for life.


For local supporters of teams, globalisation and the expansion of their teams fan base are not always seen in a positive light. International fans25 are often accused of being fair-weather fans whose support is determined entirely by the success of the team on the field and that they are not actually that knowledgeable about football. These supporters do not have the same allegiance to the Club in question because they have no ties to the teams local community in which the Club is found and thus cannot appreciate the Clubs history. It is often that international fans will stop supporting the Club as soon as they stop winning. While this is clearly not a fair assessment of all international fans, there is a palpable concern that the history and importance of the Club is not being conveyed. This becomes vitally important in the case of Clubs like FC Barcelona that are so clearly linked to their communities. Richard Giulianotti and Richard Robertson (2004) argue that these new international supporter communities can be seen as self-invented virtual diasporas, that are forged from the global dispersal of Club-focused images and products, and the volunteeristic identification of individuals with Club-related symbols and practices, (551). Raffaele Poli argues that a kind of de-territorialization is occurring through the use of satellite television, which allows supporters around the world to experience the same match at exactly the same time that the match is happening (Poli 2007). The deterritorialisation is characterised by the overcoming of geographic and temporal constraints that previously affected the ability for supporters around the world to
I am using the term international fans to refer to supporters that come to support a given team entirely on their own, often through marketing or their presence on television. I would not include in this definition what I would call diasporic fans, which refers to supporters that where either born in the town or region that the team is from and feel strongly connected to the Clubs geographic location and have a familial connection. I feel it is important to draw this distinction as the criticism levelled at international fans is referring to the first group of fans I identify and would consider the second group true fans.


experience the match at the same time. While international supporters may gather around different things and symbols, this gathering is still important to them. It is still what defines them as Bara supporters in their own right. The success of Baras charitable efforts not only reflect the values of the community that Bara represents, but also appeal to international supporters in a way that is seen as not selling out its Catalan identity. Reflecting the more general definition of who is a Catalan, Bara also sees itself as a team that is open to supporters all over the world, particularly if they share Barcelona values. It is the sharing of these values that holds the entire Bara community together, that makes them a family. A fan might choose to support Bara because of their relationship to UNICEF because the idea of a Club acting in a socially responsible way is attractive. The UNICEF support nicely opens up the possibility of a further understanding of Bara without being pushy. A new supporter to the Club could simply be attracted to the charitable gesture and leave it at that, but this would still connect them to the larger community through a shared commitment to human rights and social responsibility. A more curious fan can easily be led to a desire to learn more about Baras history and identity by simply wanting to know why a football Club would sponsor UNICEF. This question alone is enough to open the door to learning more about the Club and Catalunya. It would be easy to be cynical about the work of the foundation, to dismiss Baras charitable work as only a marketing ploy to draw attention to the Club and sell more jerseys and as a part of a strategy for raising the profile of the Club in order to increase revenues. Yet there seems to be a desire to see the Clubs charitable


efforts and commercial efforts as being diametrically opposed rather than part of an overall strategy for ensuring the continued success of Bara, both on the field and off it. This raises the question of, is it really so bad that the Club might also be benefiting financially from this move. Making money off the Clubs charitable action does not necessarily need to taint the good that the Club is doing. Adding to the difficulty of assessing this claim, is the impossibility of quantifying what role the Clubs charitable work has played in increasing the Clubs revenues. Based on the conversations that I had with supporters and Toni Rovira, there is a real belief that the Club has a responsibility to help those less fortunate, to work towards human rights because it is the right thing to do especially in light of the experience of the Catalans themselves. It could also be argued that the values that Bara are seeking to promote are universal and therefore not uniquely Catalan. It is true that Catalunya is not the first nation to value human rights and democracy. Most of the values that define a nations character are shared by other nations; it is what allows us to build relationships across borders. It becomes a strategy for building solidarity, a value that came up repeatedly in my conversation with Toni Rovira. The idea of building a community of football supporters on the basis of both a love of the team and shared values is a good way of building long-term support among new fans. The key question for the Club is how to bring the international fans into the Bara family in a meaningful way. Baras history founding by immigrants and historic openness to immigrants suggests an obligation to continue to include foreigners within the Club and to treat all supporters are equal. The desire to become involved in the Club in an official way is clearly there, but the Club needs to address


this issue. The FC Barcelona fan base is diverse. In an interview, a member of the fan Club department in charge of international fan Club development and related marketing strategies Victor Becerio described the fan to me: Historically speaking, we can say that even currently its quite obvious that Barcelona has a universal profile of fan. We have been able to bring into our family, or have our family be made of people that come from everywhere socially speaking and geographically speaking, politically speaking. We cannot be, just a lean into one strata of our society or another, everyone is welcome, everyone participates in Barcelona. People that are senior citizens, the youngest generations become members of FC Barcelona fans since their early days or weeks. We have people that come from other regions in Spain, other countries of the world. Wherever you go, you can always find people that likes or loves Barcelona. Politically speaking I would say the same thing. We have all kinds ideas, political influences or political criteria. No matter what, Barcelona is beyond that. I think that makes our Club very, very particular Club (interview by author, February 5th, 2008). This quote addresses two important issues related to Baras fan base. One, it articulates the way in which Bara attempt to attract together the entire community and cut across societal cleavages. This is accomplished by Baras articulation of a very non-committal version of Catalan identity. By non-committal, I am not trying to suggest that it is not sincere; I simply mean that FC Barcelona is not advocating any specific political position or is officially aligned with any political party. It is a type of non-aligned nationalism. This leads back to the question of how Bara chooses to


implicate itself in traditional Catalan politics. Bara goes to great lengths to appear neutral, but this is not to say that people within the Club are apolitical. It is rumoured that once he is finished his term as President Joan Laporta is planning to enter the political sphere with CiU party. In addition to possibly alienating a certain percentage of its fan base, it might also damage their commercial interests if the Club appears too radical. Whether or not the Club acknowledges this concern, it is a case where commercial interests may need to take precedence over its Catalanist interests. The reluctance to admit to the importance of commercial interests may reflect another of the large silences that exist in the Clubs narrative about the consequences of commercial success. The Club obviously values commercial success because it is the Clubs financial strength that allows it to buy players and find success on the field. Yet this raises the unasked question, as long as the financial success and winning ways of the team continue would that be enough for Bara supporters? Do the cultural and national concerns count as much as the commercial ones? Given how invested the Club is in being an important cultural institution, the answer to this question would potentially force a re-thinking of Baras identity and ideology. This raises a further question about the role that Bara can and should be playing towards achieving political goals. If the goal is for the Club to form the basis of a political movement and to be responsible for encouraging social change, then it is clearly failing in this capacity. Yet I would suggest that in order to comprehend Baras success we need to look beyond how we traditionally measure political success and to widen our definition of what makes a successful civil society organization. Within Catalunya the strong support for the idea of a separate Catalan


identity does not extend to full political separation from Spain, with the exception of a small pro-independence movement (Guibernau 2004). Instead there is large support for the things that Bara has been most active in supporting: language policy and greater representation at an international level (this will be discussed further later). Baras support for Catalanisme represents their members view of themselves in all its diversity. This is an example of why it may be more accurate to speak of Bara supporters as counterpublic rather than an actual social movement. It is a group that is constantly in flux and whose ideology is not explicit. Baras major strength lies in its ability to bring together a diverse group of people. Bara provides a space where supporters can express their Catalan identity in their own way and crucially to share that identity with other people. This becomes a balancing act. If the Club were to become too closely aligned with one strand of the movement than it could alienate, both local and international supporters, but if they abandon their position than they start to betray the role they play in society. A Clubs international fan base is inevitably diverse. Since they do not have the imagined community of Catalunya to hold them together. The Clubs openness to a wide-range of fans and voices is crucial to their ability to manage the different identities of their growing fan base. While the tools are there for Bara to build a successful relationship with its international fan base, the Club has only recently oriented itself towards addressing their needs. For the past 18 years the needs of international supporters have been treated in the same manner as those of local supporters. International fans were able to become official members or they could create a fan Club that was subject to the


same regulations as local fan Clubs. These options did not adequately reflect the reality of many international supporters, given that the benefit to both these options is that they permit you to have greater access to tickets and the physical space of the Club. For many of Baras international supporters, a trip to Camp Nou to see the team is an unlikely possibility. It is only recently that Bara have begun to engage in a project to try and develop a stardardised form for international fan Clubs and to look for ways to help these Clubs. What this will look like has yet to be determined, but given that the major way in which international fans interact with the Club is through watching the games on television, I would imagine that the Club would do well to help ensure that the satellite transmission of games is possible and affordable. The goals of the Club for its international fan Clubs is to also have their members engage with the issues of social responsibility off the field. Victor Becerio explained to me: ..And that means to promote FC Barcelona values, to promote practicing sport, football or any other sport, to promote the expansion or the release of our cultural values as well, what Barcelona is, what our community Catalunya is as well very important because that is part of FC Barcelonas current role and interest. To accept our commitment towards those who are in favour in terms provide them with solidarity, with the spirit of things we have brought to the table, in agreement with UNICEF, with UNESCO. We would like as well that our fan Clubs become followers and developers on this idea, on the values of solidarity with those who are unfavoured, with those who are not granted the same privileges, that everybody should have. For us that is a very


important pointThats a little bit the idea of supporting the concept of international fan Clubs as well. It is also true that we have witnessed as our fans gather together there is a feeling of togetherness because they share something and this is why individuals, fan Clubs or FC Barcelona fans, that act as individuals talk to each other, meet each other and decide to organise themselves under the legal umbrella of an organization called FC Barcelona fan Club and that is something we are really very proud of because it is nothing that Barcelona tried to provoke, it is something that came up naturallyIt is a sort of gift for us and we feel privileged to have so many fans internationally speaking willing to create their own FC Barcelona community in their country, in their cities, sometimes even in small villages. Doesnt make a difference, I mean it isnt only the rich people, its people from all kind of social status that like the blue and red colours and thats the greatest thing that could happen to our football Club (interview by author, February 5th, 2008). The Club expresses great optimism on this issue and ultimately there is no way of verifying whether the Clubs efforts to engage its international fans will have a positive outcome. The efforts to unify the regulations related to international fan Clubs is still in its infancy and there is no demographic information on the international fan Clubs and they might not reflect the diversity of Baras local fans. There is also no information available on whether FC Barcelonas international fan Clubs are socially engaged within their own communities in the optimistic manner that Victor Becario hopes will occur. All that can be positively assessed is that there


is a wide-ranging international interest in the Club in the sense that the international fan Clubs are not concentrated in the wealthier North America and Western Europe. Many of the Clubs are located in Africa and Latin America (, Our Fan Clubs, 2008), which may lend credence to the belief that there is a sense of solidarity between the Clubs values and its international fan Club members. For fans that are able to visit Barcelona, the FC Barcelona museum is one of the key institutions for understanding how the Club wants to project itself. The museum opened in 1984 and currently occupies 3500 feet over two floors (FCB 2007) within the Camp Nou. The museum is divided into two areas. The permanent exhibit is located on the ground floor and uses Club artefacts, jerseys, boots, trophies, posters, etc., to tell the story of the Club and the region. The second floor is a space for temporary exhibits that address more topical issues not covered in the permanent collection. Currently there is an exhibit about the life of Club founder Joan Gamper and an exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Camp Nou. The exhibit traces the history of the stadium from conception, through various renovations and to the present winning re-design by Norman Foster. The re-design emphasises the colours of the flag and Bara coming together. Already the largest stadium in Europe, at 98, 772 seats, the restructuring will increase this capacity by 10,000 seats. In addition, the redesign will bring the stadium international prestige by making it an architectural landmark, perhaps drawing an interest that goes beyond sports enthusiasts. The Museum The importance of the museum was explained to me in an interview with the head of the museum, Jordi Penas, who articulated that the mandate of the museum


covers three main objectives. The first objective is to recuperate and preserve the Club artefacts, including posters, trophies, balls, jerseys, boots, etc. The second objective is educational. It is to ensure that the history of the Club is displayed and available to Club members, football fans, visitors, etc. Part of this educational mandate is to ensure that people know that the history of FC Barcelona is interrelated with the history of Catalunya. The third objective is to be an attractive tourist destination. For the last ten years, it has been the most visited museum in all of Catalunya, receiving almost 3 million visitors a year. In addition, to being the most visited museum in the region, it is the third most visited in all of Spain behind the Prado and the Reina Christina. The last two mandates are where the importance of the museum for projecting itself to international supporters is really felt. The high number visitors drive this need to present the Clubs vision to its supporters. This reflects what John Bale sees as the way that place-name inscribe themselves on a city in a way that appeals to visitors to the city. The association between the Club and the city make it a natural tourist destination. This creates a sense of responsibility for the museum to tell the history of Catalunya and to articulate a nationalist vision. This becomes particularly acute because seventy-five percent of the visitors to the museum come from outside Spain (mainly Britain) and so this may be their only exposure to the idea of a separate Catalan identity. The museum also serves to help new players to the Club and people that work at Club to understand the history and importance of the Club (personal interview). Speaking about the museums role in promoting a sense of Catalan identity, Jordi Penas explained:


No, in the end the museum does not need to understand this relationship. The museum needs to give diffusion to this relationship. The museum is a instrument the FC Barcelona to reach people and society in order to show and explain to them what the historic reality was and what the reality is today. That is today, when I say that the museum is an instrument that the Club has for understanding history and our strong relationship with Catalan history. Also to help everyone understand our reality, history and the strong relationship that we have with Catalunya and to understand the difficult situation that we have today, above all we have the impression that we are not well understood. It was 100 years ago, there was exactly the same thing. In 1920 Joan Gamer et friends of the president of Bara went to meet the president of the International Olympic committee to as that Catalunya be allowed to participate in the games, etc. And in this moment 2008, it is the same thing. CAtalunya does not have a sportive independence and cant participate in the Olympic Games, World Cup, it is now a 100 years that Bara has fought, but sadly we have yet to get the decision. But it is always a matter of cycles. During the 109 years of Bara history, there have been moments where the sensibility has been more towards one thing or another and in this moment the sensibility is very national and very close to those at the birth of the nation like it was over a 100 years ago, (interview by author, February 5th, 2008). The Club has been successful at blending these two histories together. Leaving the museum, a visitor would have no doubt that Bara is a Catalan Club.


This work is mainly done through the temporary exhibits, which have more opportunity to be overtly political and more reflective of the current boards orientation than the permanent exhibit that speaks about Catalanime in more muted tones. The Camp Nou exhibit refers to the role that the stadium played in maintaining a sense of Catalan identity under Franco and the repression that the Club and its supporters felt during this period. The Joan Gamper exhibit makes reference to the Clubs celebration of Catalan identity from the beginning and Gampers role in promoting a separate Catalan Olympic team. Building a Catalan national team The movement for separate Catalan representation at major sporting events intersects with FC Barcelona in many ways and returns to the discussion of the role that Bara should play in politics. As discussed previously, from very early in the Clubs history there has been support for the Catalan Olympic movement. This desire was obviously muted during the Franco regime, but became a movement once again with the transition to democracy. This issue may have reached its peak with the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona when there was much debate about whether there should be a greater display of Spanish or Catalan national symbols.26 Bara continues to advocate for a Catalan presence in international sports separate from Spain, especially in their support for a Catalan national football team. A Catalan national football team does exist and they play an annual game in December, often against the Basque national football team. The team has also played
The issue of Catalan nationalism and the 1992 Olympic Games, while interesting, falls outside the scope of this thesis. For more information see Hargreaves, J. 2000. Freedom for Catalonia?: Catalan nationalism, Spanish identity, and the Barcelona Olympic Games. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


against the national teams of countries like Brazil, but in recent years the Spanish national government has put pressure on countries that had initially agreed to play the Catalan national team to withdraw (Ball 2001). The Spanish government is concerned that these matches might encourage the claims of the Catalans to their own football team. The Catalan government has applied to both FIFA and UEFA to have independent representation, citing the precedent of the British home nations (Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland) who all have their own national teams.27 In some instances FIFA and UEFA have granted privileges to places not considered nation-states, but not out of a progressive idea of nationalism. FIFA stipulates that a nation that has yet to achieve independence may apply for membership with permission from the country it is dependent on (Menary 2007). Spain would never grant this permission given that the Spanish government is commitment to the idea of a unitary Spanish nation. Much like the EU, FIFA and UEFA are made up of nation-states and will not do anything that is seen as undermining the authority and sovereignty of the nation-state that is being challenged. Bara supports the formation of a Catalan national football team and often the teams games are played at the Camp Nou. Yet until this becomes a reality (if it ever does), Bara remains Catalunyas de facto national team. Bara may be able to act as the de facto national team in part because of the conflicting relationship that often exists with the Spanish national team. For all their talent and passion, Spain has underachieved at the international level having prior to 2008, having only won one European Cup in 1964. Often these poor performances
The home nations have this privilege because they were amongst the founding nations of both these organisations. In recent years there have been some suggestions that this privilege should be revoked and replaced by a single Great Britain team. This move is opposed by the home nations.


were blamed on the lack of unity within the squad. In the post mortem that occurred after every tournament the blame was often implicitly (or in some cases explicitly) placed on the players within the squad that came from the historic autonomous communities (Sols 2003). It was implied that they were less committed to the team and were thus less likely to give their full effort for the Spanish shirt. Two interesting features further complicate the Spanish national team. Firstly the team is rarely referred to as the national team instead it is referred to as la Seleccon, which suggests a coming together of players in a way that somewhat neutralises the nationalist fervor that accompanies a national team. Secondly, Spain does not have a national stadium where it plays international matches (Ball 2001). Instead the team plays their matches at various stadiums throughout Spain. Surprisingly (or not), the Spanish team rarely plays at the Camp Nou (Ball 2001) despite the stadiums reputation and size. Given that it has nothing to compete against, it makes it much easier for the Camp Nou to claim a place as the national stadium of Catalunya. Bara represents Catalunya on an international level through their participation in competitions like the UEFA champions league and UEFA cup. The team is arguably the regions best-known import and thus a great vehicle for drawing attention to Catalunya. Bara wants to raise a political consciousness, but if a Bara victory is meant to resonate with all citizens of Catalunya then this consciousness needs to be as open as possible to the diversity of the region. Bara continues to be a promise of the potential of a Catalan identity has no defined shape. This is both a strength and weakness. It is a strength because it allows for a large supporter base. Yet it is also a weakness because without a defined shape, it is difficult to articulate


the concrete goals that the movement has. While the Club is committed to its position as a cultural and nationalist organization, it is also a commercial enterprise, which carries with it a desire to be profitable. Bara, with its charitable efforts, seems to have found a balance between these two potentially conflictual interests. Yet there is a continued reluctance to see the financial side of the Club as being tied to the charitable one.


Conclusion On June 9th 2008, the current President of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta, and his board narrowly escaped a vote of non-confidence that would have toppled the current regime and triggered a presidential election (Elkington 2008). Given the close margin of the vote, there are still calls for Laporta to resign and to bring in a new interim board. That enough signatures were collected to trigger a vote of nonconfidence is a reflection of two trophy-less seasons and an opposition that exists within the ranks of supporters to Laportas seeming despotism and poor leadership. This dissatisfaction came despite a flurry of activity in the early part of the summer in which the Club began selling some of its underperforming stars and fired coach Frank Rijkaard (who had been in charge since 2003). In his place, the board appointed Josep Pep Guardiola as coach. Guardiolas appointment is an interesting one as he is a young and has very little coaching experience. What sets him apart is that he is a former Bara hero who captained the team and hails from the region. This appointment suggests that, in times of difficulty, the Club turns to its roots. In this case, it was not enough to stop the serious questions being asked of the boards management. Despite the slim margin of victory, Laporta has decided to continue as president. This decision was not supported by all the members of the board and on July 10th, 2008 eight members of the Board of Directors resigned, including Antoni Rovira ( Eight Directors Resign, 2008). The reason given by these eight board members was a disagreement over whether the board should continue or step down and allow for a new election, which carries with it the possibility of a new direction for the Club.


This episode highlights many of the central issues that I have sought to address. Through my thesis, I have argued for recognising Baras importance as a nationalist institution as a way of developing a better understanding of how people live their national identity on a regular basis. Bara may be a non-traditional nationalist institution, but the role that it plays in shaping Catalan identity makes it one of the most relevant identity touchstones for its supporters. In looking at an institution such as Bara, it may be possible to develop an understanding of nationalist communities that does not rely solely on the idea of the imagined community and may be more closely aligned with Michael Warners idea of the counterpublic. The counterpublic suggests a group that is more responsive to the world around the group, which is certainly true of Bara. Baras reaction and relationship to the dominant power is one of the main reasons that it has endured as an important symbol within Catalunya. As a bridge between the symbolic and the real, Bara makes a case, as Latour does, for considering the importance of things in bringing people together. This is Baras greatest strength; its ability to create a sense of solidarity among a large population irrespective of race, class, gender, and increasingly, geography. While the romanticism of this idea often does not reflect reality, it continues to exist as the promise of an ideal worthy of aspiration. It is within this space between the ideal and real that Bara must confront some difficult choices and where we find the tension between its social/cultural/nationalist aspirations and its commercial ones. The recent board events raise a few uncomfortable questions for the Club, namely, are results what matter most? Are the Clubs commercial interests more


important than anything else? The Club would prefer not to answer these two questions because of the possibility that the answer may undermine the Bara project. As Chapter Three argues, the balance between the three aspects of the Clubs identity is often fraught with tension. If a consensus arose that suggested that the Clubs commercial interests were most important, it could cause Bara to experience an identity crisis. Bara without Catalunya is not Bara. It would no longer be more than a Club, it would simply be a football Club. The possibility of the Club abandoning its symbolic side of the Club in favour of its commercial interests exclusively is inconceivable; the balance between the two will be the most important challenge facing the Club in the future. Baras future lies in its ability to balance all of its various interests, both at home and abroad. There may also come a time when the Club will need to make decisions about which aspects are most important to the Club. While its current charitable partnerships have allowed Bara to balance these interests, this may not always be the case. If Bara fails to make these decisions, the Club runs the risk of losing its relevancy, both as a football team and symbolically, by trying to be all things to all people. Yet there is reason to be optimistic. The structure of the charitable deals with UNICEF and other UN agencies is allowing the Club to retain its integrity and principles while also building its finances. It is also allowing them to balance the interests of its local and international fans by choosing causes that have universal appeal. It is important to return to the problem proposed by Grant Farred (2008) in the introduction: how can the Club move towards the future while retaining the past? For Farred, Bara will forever be marked by a lack; the lack of recognition of the Catalan


nation and the Club will never be able to overcome this lack on its own. While Farreds assessment is not incorrect, Baras ability to force through the kind of political change necessary to allow for full recognition of Catalan nationalism is nonexistent, I do not think that this undermines Baras project. Baras slogan, more than a Club, does hold within in it a promise that maybe someday Catalunya may be more than a region as well. Yet it is not Baras fault if this does not come to pass. As a counterpublic, it is entirely shaped by its members and reflects their desires. This includes its new international supporters for whom Bara will always be more than a Club, regardless of what happens to Catalunya. In its capacity as a non-traditional nationalist institution, Bara does not practice traditional politics beyond providing recognition and space for the expression of Catalan identity. Yet this is, at least in part, due to the fact that there is no strong consensus on what Catalan nationalist recognition should look like. Since 1975, Baras political identity has undergone changes. Prior to 1975, Baras political relevance was guaranteed by the virtue of the fact that they provided any representation of Catalan identity at all. The cultural and social work that the Club does is an effort to create a new politics of representation that acknowledges and reflects their changing fan base. The Clubs effort to promote human rights accomplishes the goal of taking the past into the future since the promotion of human rights ties into the historic experiences of region. This commitment to solidarity may inspire some of its international fans to work for social change in their communities. While there is no way to measure whether this will become a reality, being a


supporter of a football Club with an international fan base does allow for a way of thinking about and realising a solidarity with others. It is here that Latours argument in support of things has particular resonance. While there is no substitute for watching a match live and experiencing the atmosphere of Camp Nou, watching a game live on television has a certain resonance as well. In watching a game live on television, there is an understanding that in the same moment, there are thousands or even millions of people doing the exact same thing and you are connected to them through the love of your team. Yet the silences that I have pointed to are what threaten the Clubs efforts to balance the interests of past and future. It is important for the Club to make serious decisions about the how the commercial interests of the Club will be balanced with its social/cultural/community interests. The Club will never lose its cultural importance completely. Indeed the importance of Bara as a cultural/national force is a matter of historical record. However, it does run the risk of becoming simply a historical fact rather than a force that can continue into the future. In Barcelona, there is a saying that sees some things as being either too profane or too sacred to speak about; Bara is still seen as being too sacred. While this saying captures the romantic idealism that Bara holds, it may also point to its weakness; an inability to treat Bara as a functioning organization with all the inherent contradictions that come with being both a commercial and cultural venture. This may paralyse the Club from making critical decisions about the direction of the Club including trying to reconcile both the commercial and cultural interests of the Club. The future of the Club may be entirely dependent on its ability to stop being sacred and start being real.


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