What is the world’s greatest sport? Football is the only correct answer, as far as certified football fanatics and certain psychic octopi like Paul are concerned. Paul’s psychic abilities aside, football has been popular for ages and its popularity has crossed geographical boundaries.
A Brief History
It is said that the real creators of the game are the Chinese, whose military men were already kicking and controlling their balls in the second and third centuries BC. Variations of this Chinese game called cuju spread to the neighboring countries of Korea and Japan, which called the game chuk-guk and kemari, respectively. In Ancient Greece, similar games were played. During the Roman period, Cicero wrote that a kicked ball killed a man who was having a shave in a barber shop. Subsequent players must have been aware of this fatal outcome as they decided football was played better in wider spaces, than in narrow streets with a barber. In the Middle Ages and even in the early modern period, the major problem was the rowdy and disruptive manner of football. This led to proclamation bans by the reigning monarchs. Even Shakespeare expressed his disapproval of the game. Fortunately for the game, some rational people finally decided to standardize rules and this led to the formulation of the modern football codes. Instead of a “mob” type of game, it became an organized sport which was mainly practiced inside schools. In the 19th century, football formally became a team sport for developing competitiveness and keeping fit.
In an attempt to standardize how the game is played, the Football Association (FA) was formed in 1863. It involved several football clubs in London. After their final meeting, the FA released the “Laws of Football” which was used for what is now known as association football or soccer. When association football became very popular, it was decided that there is a need for a body that will govern the game. Because the English FA was unresponsive, seven European countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland formed the Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Now simply known as FIFA, this international association currently has 208 nation members and for this reason, it gained the title “United Nations of Football”.
A world phenomenon
The modern phenomenon of worldwide football fandom recently reached its climax during the 2010 World FIFA Cup held in South Africa. The match between Spain and Netherlands was full of expectation from their respective fans but Spain eventually emerged as the winner. Perhaps, it is a combination of strong players, strong prayers and Paul’s strong extrasensory powers that contributed to Spain’s victory.
So what is FC Barcelona?
What does FC stand for? It is neither For Chicks nor Free Coke. It is plain Futbol Club. Futbol Club Barcelona or simply Barcelona or Barça, as it has its base in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Founded in 1899 by a mix of English, Spanish and Swiss men, the club adopted the motto Més que un club. To non-Spanish speakers, the motto simple means “More than a club”, which refers to how greatly it is esteemed not just as a football club but also as a social institution. Indeed, it is more than a football club, because it has diversified into various sports.FC Barcelona has been rivals with Real Madrid for a long time. Matches between these two teams are always well-attended and well-publicized. Having garnered a total of 20 La Liga titles, 25 Spanish Cups, 8 Spanish Super Spanish Cups, 2 League Cups, 3 UEFA Champions Leagues Titles, 4 EUFA Cup Winners’ Cups, 3 Inter-Cities Fairs Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups and 1 FIFA World Cup, it is not surprising that FC Barcelona is very rich, rich enough, in fact, to be the second richest football club in the world, in terms of revenue. FC Barcelona is managed and operated by its own fans, which makes it unique among the world’s football clubs.
FC Barcelona Facilities and Membership
Being very rich, the FC Barcelona has no choice but to spend at least a part of its €365 Million revenue by building topnotch facilities that include Camp Nou, Miniestadi, Sport City, Palau Blaugrana, Palau Blaugrana 2 (Picadero) and an Ice Rink. The club currently has 173,071 members, of which 64,306 are from Barcelona, 86,355 are from the rest of Catalonia and 23,040 are from outside of Catalonia. Most of the members are men (132,707) while only about ¼ consists of women (40,994). FC Barcelona also boasts of 1,343 official supporters’ clubs.
FC Barcelona Culture
Like all other self-respecting and somehow self-adulating clubs, FC Barcelona has its own anthem entitled “El Cant del Barça'”, played during Camp Nou games. As an organized group, much like the medieval families of Europe, the club also features a crest with a bowl-shaped design and the St. George Cross. The red and yellow bars represent Barcelonia and Spain and on a strip across the center, the initials FCB are written. Below this, a ball and the Barça colors are placed. The official colors of the club are scarlet and blue, and this combination is known as “Blaugrana”, a term derived from the Catalan language. No conclusive evidence of why these colors were chosen has ever been presented. Football is a game that presents challenges to a team. With the right combination strength, endurance, agility and organization, a football team will emerge the winner in competitions whether local or international. This is exemplified by FC Barcelona and other football clubs.