Global soccer may be on pause as the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, but it hasn’t stopped FC Barcelona from connecting with its fans and community around the globe. Here are a few ways Barca is continuing to educate, entertain and spread goodwill throughout the crisis.
Camp Nou training at home
Keeping fit is a crucial part of the daily regimen for Barca players, but what happens when they no longer have access to Camp Nou? Easy. They bring their Camp Nou training home. In this case, the stand-in for FC Barcelona’s training ground is the backyards and fitness rooms of Barca’s stars — some have even shared videos of how they stay in shape at home. Here is an inspirational compilation released on the club’s YouTube page. For fans of the extended Barca family, don’t forget to check this incredible TikTok video from Barca legend and current Vissel Kobe star Andres Iniesta and his wife Anna Ortiz.
Barca have promoted the importance of social distancing by encouraging fans to stay at home across a number of initiatives, including #CulersAtHome, which features interactive interviews with Barca stars from the privacy of their own homes. While these home videos may lack the typical production value of studio-produced content, they offer Barca fans an intimate look behind the scenes of their favorite players’ lives as they face this challenge alongside the rest of us.
Reliving Legendary Matches
Want proof that great soccer is timeless? In addition to interactive interviews with Barca players, the club is also sharing legendary games from the team’s archives as part of its #CulersAtHome series. Barca has made dozens of classic games available to watch for free, including the 2005 match between Barca and Juventus, dubbed “the day the world fell in love with Leo Messi.” Also available, the 1999 exhibition match that pitted the club against a Brazil national squad led by Ronaldo at the peak of his powers, and more recently, the 2019 Rakuten Cup match that saw Iniesta take on his former club in Kobe, Japan.
Toilet paper challenge
In addition to the #culersathome series, the 10-touch toilet paper challenge has also emerged as a social media phenomenon, with players from across the soccer world challenging each other to juggle a roll of TP at least 10 times. While Spanish national team legend Joan Capdevila initially introduced the #10touchchallenge, it was Barca’s young midfielder Riqui Puig who was first to accept the challenge using toilet paper. The challenge quickly took off, prompting global soccer standouts to show off their skills on social media. Our favorite: The video from Messi, who responded to a challenge from Barca legend and former teammate Xavi by absolutely crushing it.
More than a Club
FC Barcelona’s motto, “More Than A Club,” is a philosophy engrained in the club’s very DNA. This is illustrated by a number of activities the Club has undertaken over the last few weeks, including making its expansive facilities available to the Government of Catalonia’s Ministry of Health, launching the “We’ll join you at home” program to support seniors throughout the crisis, spearheading #stayathome awareness campaigns and working with one of its partners to deliver 30,000 masks to the local health authorities, which are to be distributed to nursing homes in the region.
Through FC Barcelona’s supporters’ club movement (Confederació de Penyes), Barca also donated more than 800kg of food for children to the Food Bank.
And that’s not all the club is doing to support its community during these challenging times. Barca Innovation Hub, along with FC Barcelona Sports Innovation and Knowledge Laboratory, has launched a series of courses at half price on sport subjects to raise funds for the Barca Foundation that will be used to fund projects to alleviate this health emergency.
Led from the top by club captain Leo Messi, first team players voluntarily chose to cut their wages by more than 70% and committed to supporting club employees so they can receive their full wages. The rest of the FC Barcelona professional sports teams agreed to reduce their salaries as well.
From the other side of the globe, the Barca Academy Qingdao in China sent artistic messages of solidarity and encouragement to FC Barcelona fans in the fight against COVID-19, demonstrating Barca’s incredible ability to inspire communities around the world.
To stay up-to-date on everything Barca is doing to combat COVID-19 and support the community, be sure to follow the club’s official Viber chat.