F.C. Barcelona’s slogan for the last few years has been “Més que un club” which is Catalan for “More than (just) a club”. Although F.C. Barcelona was founded by a Swiss gentleman (Joan Gamper) in 1899 and uses the English words Football Club, it has become a symbol of Catalan identity and a business card for Catalonia to the world. There are many reasons why the club gained such a status but one of the main reasons is that during the Franco years, the Camp Nou stadium was one of the few places where people felt they could freely speak Catalan.
Not all “culés” (as the fans are called) are equally enthusiastic about mixing politics with sports and both the regional press and fan club associations are strongly divided about this subject. The former president of the club, Joan Laporta, is a strong advocate of an independent Catalonia which did not sit well with many but the current president, Sander Rosell, is seen as a more moderate force. Athough the dressing room mainly speaks Spanish, the official language and club song is Catalan.
This all adds to the history and folkore of a game where 22 players chase a ball on a piece of grass. And there’s probably not a better place to watch this spectacle these days than at the famous Camp Nou football stadium. This theatre of (football) dreams holds close to 100.000 supporters (all seated) at full capacity with one of the largest football pitches that the rules allow (105 x 68 meters). The stadium has three rings and because of its size, there are definitely big differences in the viewing quality depending on where you sit. As far as I am concerned, best seats are in the second ring where you sit high enough to have the overview, but close enough to see the details of the players.
F.C. Barcelona has a ticket system that is different from most other clubs in that almost all seats are presold to season ticket holders for every game that is played (national competition, King’s cup and European games). One section is reserved for visiting supports (far, far away on the third ring) but the regular seats only become available if a ticket holder either sells the seat for a particular game via the club’s website or stands outside the stadium to get a better price from last minute buyers for the bigger games. In the latter case, the seat owner will walk with you inside the stadium to the last checkpoint and you’l then return the tickets, having taken note of where you are supposed to sit.
The easiest route though is to buy tickets on the club’s website. The ticket availability is updated roughly every ten minutes so do check regularly if you did not find what you were looking for. You can immediately print the tickets upon completing the purchase. One inherent problem with the way that the club works with season ticket holders is that it is very difficult to find adjacent seats. If you go with a group to a less popular game, there is normally enough space left though to “regroup” once the game has started.
Regardless of your gender (you’ll be surprised how many women attend), age or even love for the Beautiful Game, you’ll have a great time visiting the Camp Nou and cheering on the team.