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FC Barcelona

Home to the likes of the mercurial Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, FC Barcelona, one of the world's most successful and popular football clubs is run on a co-operative basis. A private non-profit making sports association, FC Barcelona is owned and run by its 175,000 members who each pay an annual membership fee of approximately £150 bringing in around £25 million. Members have full voting rights similar to that of a Co-operative Community Benefit Society in the UK.

Read more of the FC Barcelona story ...

Home to the likes of the mercurial Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, FC Barcelona, one of the world's most successful and popular football clubs is run on a co-operative basis. A private non-profit making sports association, FC Barcelona is owned and run by its 175,000 members who each pay an annual membership fee of approximately £150 bringing in around £25 million. Members have full voting rights similar to that of a Co-operative Community Benefit Society in the UK.

As a body, members dictate the future of their club. Fan ownership has led to FC Barcelona being placed at the very heart of the fiercely independent Catalonian region which has a population of over 7.5 million.

The club is fully democratic, electing a President every six years. A delegate assembly is picked at random from the membership and is responsible for approving the accounts and authorising all financial decisions which will cause the club to incur debt. FC Barcelona is a fully fledged multi-sports club with the football side supporting the many other sports teams which fall under the same co-operative umbrella.

Its Social Mission

Its mission is to promote an emblematic social model through the development of solidarity, cultural and educational activities (both its own and as part of collaborations) to enable the consolidation of Barça's social commitment to being "More than a club" in Catalonia, Spain and the world, positioning itself in a unique dimension on a global scale.

Its general objectives include promoting actions concerning the fight against extreme poverty and illnesses that affect mainly the most vulnerable children in the world, favouring education for all and gender equality, as stipulated by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Other objectives include promoting and offering tools to foster the values of sport among children, such as effort, respect, companionship and tolerance, both on a school level as on that of sports and leisure centres; favouring and encouraging actions aimed at the social normalisation of people with disabilities, immigrants and other groups at risk of social exclusion; contributing to the development of culture, the defence of civilian values, freedom and democracy, which have always defined the club and the history of Spain; promoting youth sport and the academic training of the sports people forming part of the Barça institution as well as giving support and assistance to veteran players that have formed and still form part of the club's history.

Managing Finances

Youth development and fan welfare are put above short term success and financial gain by a co-operative model. This is best represented by the average cost of an adult season ticket at Barcelona costing just £75 and the club paying a charity, UNICEF, €1.5 million annually to sponsor their own shirts. By comparison, in the English Premier League, Manchester United receive £20 million a year in shirt sponsorship whilst Arsenal charge upwards of nearly £900 for a season ticket.

Barcelona supplemented their income by a staggering €110 million in commercial revenue alone in 2008/09 which provides greater funding for youth development programmes and subsidised ticket prices. FC Barcelona's adhesion to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the donation of 0.7% of the club’s ordinary income to the Fundació FC Barcelona to support its programmes and projects led to the strengthening of their alliances with Unicef, UNESCO and UNHCR/ACNUR, and was culminated with Futbol Club Barcelona being awarded a position as a member of the ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council of the United Nations).

Dave Boyle, Chief Executive of Supporters Direct and the author of the report, commented;

"FC Barcelona is a powerful example of how a club can be organised co-operatively and still successfully compete with rivals across the world. The club has long been known for being owned by its fans but, until now, we couldn't see how things worked 'under the hood'. Fans looking at what rights and powers they have in the club can only look on with envy. Of course, co-operative football clubs are like all clubs – they are not immune from financial troubles during times of economic austerity. But it’s the ownership structure that really sets them apart."

"There are a growing number of supporters’ trusts in the UK looking to give fans a greater say and stake in their clubs; our aim is to show how the co-operative model can run effectively and to the benefit of all involved."

(Information extracted from FC Barcelona and Co-operatives UK websites. For more information, visit

</p>lank">www.fcbarcelona.com/ and www.uk.coop/barca)

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