The supportive side of FC Barcelona

Cristian González

8 November, 2009

In the 2006 year, FC Barcelona signed an agreement to exhibit the UNICEF logo on the first football team's shirt. Many thought that it was a maneuver facing the gallery but, over the years, the work done since its foundation demonstrates a firm commitment.

Now that everyone talks about the historic triple of FC Barcelona, ​​it is appropriate to speak of a task that has made the Barça club a benchmark worldwide. From the 1994 the mission of the FC Barcelona Foundation is to promote an emblematic social model through the development of solidary, cultural and training actions, and in collaboration with other entities. It was not until the 2003 year, under the presidency of Joan Laporta, when the Foundation began a new era marked by a change in direction and became the social soul of the club.

Since then, the Foundation's policy has been marked by two broad lines of action. On the one hand, FC Barcelona joined the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations and the transfer of the 0,7% of the ordinary revenue of the club to the Foundation for the realization of its own programs and projects. The rest of the resources come from contributions from entities such as the "la Caixa" Foundation, Nike, the Spanish and Catalan Agencies of Cooperation, as well as smaller companies or entities.

The second line has made pioneering alliances with Unicef, UNESCO and UNHCR / UNHCR. The culmination of this area of ​​work has been the status of member of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations granted to FC Barcelona.

The area of ​​its own programs is based on two fields: solidarity, cooperation and sport and citizenship. The first one is properly focused on cooperation and includes the creation of an International Network of Solidarity Centers (XICS) and the organization of the Solidarity Sports Days (JES). In the field of sport and citizenship activities are carried out that promote a civic society taking the sport as a backbone.

The kids
"Thanks to the International Network of Solidarity Centers spread across several continents, the Foundation offers education, healthcare, psychosocial support, and access to sport and leisure for the most vulnerable children, also ensuring gender equity," explains Marta Next, general director of the FC Barcelona Foundation.

The head of the Foundation said that "FC Barcelona's commitment to these centers is three years, a time during which the club aims to involve public and local institutions in the financing of the center, once all three have finished years, the center has the future insured to continue its work ».

Each of these centers has a library, computer room, dining room, medical space where the doctor can make the revisions to children, and a sports area that is normally a football field and a sports court. «When they leave school the children come to our center to do school support, receive healthcare, practice vaccinations, we offer computer lessons and in the case of children who do not go to school we do them vocational training workshops in which we teach them mechanics, electronics, sewing and horticulture », explains Marta Segú. A total of 1.276 children and young people benefit from the daily work of these fields that ensure nutrition, healthcare, literacy and vocational training for boys and girls. In this sense, the response of the children is very positive, since "they all allege that Barça have taken the trouble to arrive where they are to give them everything we offer them." But the good effects of these centers extend to seven thousand people if the direct relatives are taken into account.

In these centers, sports equipment such as basketball, handball, volleyball, soccer and indigenous disciplines with strong implantation, such as cricket or koko and kabiki in India, are also practiced. «Sports activity is offered as an incentive for the scoundrel to come to the center, but also to guarantee their physical well-being and to form them in a series of values ​​such as teamwork, effort, discipline, trust, respect, solidarity, gender equity and tolerance. »

One of the problems with FC Barcelona when it comes to implementing a center of this kind is the misinformation of families and the social environment. «Of course you have to explain to everyone that they are fields for cooperation and that in no case are they centers of catchment of soccer players for the first team, because they always appear the typical intermediaries that look for to do business, but immediately disappear when they see That's not what they thought, because we do not want to mix the sports plot with our cooperation project, "explains Segu. For this reason, the Fundació FC Barcelona works with families so that they do not have any expectation regarding the possibility of their son or daughter end up playing at Barça. «At the beginning we are offered to pay to bring their children to our centers and we must say that the XICS are only for children who can not afford it»

The JES
The Solidarity Sport Days have the objective of forming social educators or monitors who work every day with children and young people at risk of social exclusion so that they can use sport as a motivational tool. These days take place several times a year, with a maximum duration of four days and include psychologists, psychopedagogues and also former players of FC Barcelona, ​​such as Julio Alberto. Morning sessions work on the theoretical part and talk about how sport is a social promotion tool and also on how useful it is to promote civic values ​​in socially marginalized groups. In the afternoon the session is more practical and it shows educators how to apply sport to achieve the goals that have been exposed to them in the morning. "With the training we want to achieve the multiplier effect so that these educators can teach others," explains Marta Segú.

Agreement with UNESCO
Since the 2003 year the FC Barcelona Foundation has signed a collaboration agreement with UNESCO that acts in three directions: the first is to combat racism and violence in sport, the second is anti-doping and the third is the promotion of universal education. The agreement does not imply a fixed financial contribution but a commitment to develop programs of both entities.

"The most important initiative that we have with Barça is the one being carried out by the International Coalition of European Cities Against Racism, which celebrates a conference once a year. The last one was made from 24 on 26 in September of 2008 in Bologna, and Barça took advantage of this meeting to bring together young people from the different member cities to propose them to reflect and discuss for three days about how sport could be a a valid tool to combat racism and defend the values ​​of multiculturalism, tolerance and solidarity, "explains Miquel Àngel Essomba, director of the UNESCO Center in Catalonia.

From this work, a series of recommendations came out, among which there was one that proposed that in the contracts of the sportsmen an anti-racism clause was established from which the players committed themselves not to have xenophobic behaviors and Violent inside and outside playgrounds. The president of FC Barcelona, ​​Joan Laporta, presented this proposal to the European Clubs Association (ECA), and was accepted, although it is pending official signing.

Agreement with UNICEF
The collaboration that has attracted most attention from the media is that the FC Barcelona Foundation signed with UNICEF the 2006. This agreement establishes that the Barça club will give 1,5 million euros annually to the humanitarian entity for five years to fund UNICEF child support projects in Third World countries. In a part of this signed agreement also agreed what transcended the press: the inclusion of the logo of UNICEF in the t-shirt of the first football team.

For Joana Pérez, coordinator of UNICEF's collaborations with FC Barcelona, ​​"Barça is the only global sports club that has a firm commitment and provides a very important amount of economic resources". The total amount of the contributions made by the Barça entity are used to finance initiatives to fight and prevent childhood AIDS. «Campus is organized to educate trainers so that they can then advise children on preventing the spread of this disease as widespread in continents as Africa», explains Joana Pérez.

From UNICEF the potential of sport is very clear as an instrument to treat children at risk of social exclusion in Third World countries. "Sport is like a candy for nannies because you use a more direct language that allows you to come closer to you, and from there everything goes like a silk," explains Maria Zapata, responsible for the Esport pel program Development that drives UNICEF.

Agreement with UNHCR
"In ACNUR, they really liked what Barça did with the XICS and wanted to develop a similar experience but applied to children who are in refugee camps in countries such as Rwanda, Nepal and Ecuador," explains Marta Segú. The idea is to use sport as a tool for these children to regain, in a way, normality. This collaboration also added the Nike sports brand, which allowed the creation of a catalog of products under the slogan «More», which refers to the famous phrase «More than a club». This sporting goods catalog is sold at the stores of Barça and the money collected from the sale is intended to cover children who live in refugee camps.

THE 12 XICS THAT HAS FC BARCELONA

Brazil
Taquaritinga: 120 infants
Burkina Faso
Uguadugú: 100 children

Catalunya
Sta. Coloma de Gramenet: 75 young people

Equador
Portoviejo: 100 children

India
Atmakur: under construction
Ballathapalli: 101 infants

Malawi
Chezi: under construction

Mali
Bamako: 120 infants

Morocco
Tangier: 140 children

Mexico
El Salto: 200 young people
Tonalá: 200 youngsters
Senegal
Richard Toll: 120 infants

the author

Cristian González

Graduate in Journalism (UPF), Graduate in Contemporary History (UB), Master in Business Communication Specialization in Digital Technologies (UPF).

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