650 members of penyes travelling to Lyon for Olympique v Barça
NEWS 17 Feb 2019 - CMP
President of the Confederation, Antoni Guil, to attend pre-match dinner with French and international supporters’ clubs
UEFA Champions League mobilises Europe’s most passionate supporters. And that definition fits perfectly with the members of official supporters’ clubs: people who are always willing to do anything for their team and support them, which in turn can give their team that added push towards victory. And the FC Barcelona Penya movement is one of the biggest and most global –with no fewer than 650 of its members from all around the world travelling to Lyon for tomorrow’s 9.00pm CET kick-off against Olympique in the round of 16.
The FC Blaugrana Penya based in Lyon itself, “Plus que des Supporters”, has joined forces with the Supporters’ Clubs World Confederation to arrange a dinner this evening that is expected to be attended by some 100 guests to warm up the atmosphere ahead of the game. The event will also involve the exchange of gifts and will be attended by the head of the FC Barcelona Social Commission, Josep Maria Barnils; the president of the World Federation, Antoni Freire; spokeswoman and the head of communication for the World Federation, Teresa Calveras; the president of the host club, Nicolas Fayet, and many other representatives of international clubs.
More than 100 Lyonnaise among 650 supporters
Naturally, many people attending this social and football event are from France or from neighbouring countries like Switzerland. The highest amount, 106, will be from the Lyon supporters’ club, “Plus que des Supporters”, which was made official in 2007 and has former Barça star Ludovic Giuly as its godfather, something that the club president Nicolas Fayet describes as a “treasured gift”.
Next in the ranking come two Swiss clubs: 46 members of the PB Lausanne and 34 from the PB Geneva; followed by more French clubs: 27 from PB Vandoeuvre Lorraine, 26 from PB Paris and 24 from Penya “Blaugranor” du Nord de la France. Other French supporters’ clubs that will be attending are the Penya de Touraine Supporters du Barça, FC Barcelona Clan: Cyberpenya Blaugrana Francophone and PB “Gabriel López Sola” Saint Juery.
But the continents’ premier club competition means it is not just supporters from around Europe that are on the move. Fans from elsewhere will also be coming to cheer on their team, such as the PB Marrakech, the Associació del Nord Blaugrana Chaouen and the PB Rabat Atlàntic from Morocco; the PB de Sant Petersburg from Russia and even the PB de Riyadh from Saudi Arabia.
Promoters of the French-Speaking Congress
The Lyon Penya began with just five members and now has 200. “This is an awesome achievement considering that Olympique is a huge team in France and has lots of fans”, says Nicolas Fayet. In fact, the last time the city played host to Barça there were barely ten members and this time there are over 100.
The club is also honouring its name, which translates as “More than Supporters”, by getting involved in a number of charity projects: they work with UNICEF, help the homeless especially in winter and every year raise money so that a sick child can go to Camp Nou. It was also this club that organised the first Congress of French-Speaking Penyes in Lyon in 2012, an event that will be holding its eighth edition this March in Morocco.
The Penya “Blaugranor” du Nord de la France from the town of Carvin was declared official in 2003 and celebrated its 15th anniversary last year by holding the Congress of French-Speaking Penyes, which welcomed clubs from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Morocco and Algeria to enjoy Barça fellowship together. The event was opened by the president of “Blaugranor”, Anthony Romon, and his 8-year-old son Esteban, who played the Barça anthem on the trumpet while the hundred or so guests sang along. This emotional moment was followed by spontaneous applause and the uncorking of champagne bottles.
The club from the capital, PB Paris, is especially devoted to Barça, to the extent that its seventh anniversary involved a trip to the Camp Nou to watch the team in Liga action and enjoy the chance to support the players with all their energy.
The PB Lorraine was only made official last December. Its origins date back to 2015 when three Barça fans from different backgrounds were brought together thanks to our club. The trio joined forces to build their dream of creating their own supporters club and the idea gained strength as more and more fans were brought on board and they gathered information about the process, to the extent that the club now has over 60 members.
There will be a gathering of Barça Penyes tomorrow so that they can all head to the game together and support the team at the Groupama Stadium. The meeting point is Place Bellecour at 4.00pm, and is being arranged by the FC Blaugrana “Plus que des Supporters” club for an expected 200 or so fans from around the world, although absolutely anyone is welcome to go along to join them if they like, because as everyone knows: the more we support the team together, the better the chance of winning!