FC Barcelona fans gear up for first meeting since official recognition

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FC Barcelona (FCB) may no longer be a force that strode the world of football like a colossus what with the latest financial catastrophe adding to the woes of years without a cup.

However, that has not stopped the Catalan giants’ fans in the State from celebrating their favourite club as they gear up for their first annual gathering since receiving the club’s seal recognising them as an official fans’ association this July. Fans from across the State are expected to turn up for the day-long event to be held at a hotel at Edappally in Kochi on August 14.

Penya Del Barca Kozhikode-Kerala, formerly known as Cules of Kerala (CoK), has also arranged for a friendly football tournament on an adjacent turf and a football-based quiz for the participants. “The official recognition was the result of a three-year-long toil as FCB has one of the toughest criteria for handing out official recognition. We had to make several trips to Barcelona, besides conducting several assignments and events as instructed,” said Yadu Krishna, president of the association.

The club did an intensive membership campaign and has now 300 registered members in four months since they were intimated about the impending official recognition. Mr. Krishna said the disastrous few years with little footballing success had little impact on the campaign, considering that in their previous avatar as CoK, a registered society, they had managed just 250 memberships during the entire first season in 2016.

“Besides, the arrival of Xavi as the manager of FCB and a potential return of Lionel Messi, our icon and brand all rolled into one, have revived the enthusiasm as reflected in the increased participation in events and on social media,” he said.

Anjan Kumar, a former office-bearer of CoK and active member, said FCB had won hearts with their exciting brand of football and Xavi personified that fluid game. “This is perhaps the most anticipated season fans are looking forward to in the last few years. Coupled with our exciting signings, this should be a memorable season,” he said.

Penya Del Barca Kozhikode-Kerala has four wings covering all four regions of the State. It also has a women’s wing, Femeni Penya, in the keeping with the rising popularity of FCB’s women’s team Barcelona Femeni.

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