We celebrate the Centenary of Barça Supporters’ Clubs
NEWS 24 Jul 2019 - Supporters' Clubs World Confederation
Barça fans from around the world commemorate a historic milestone, coinciding with the 40th edition of the World Congress of Supporters’ Clubs
The Barça ‘penyes’ movement celebrates its centenary today. The first mention of a 'Penya Barcelonista' in an official FC Barcelona document was in 1919, and since then, such groups have accompanied FC Barcelona unconditionally and untiringly. From August 2 2019, more than a thousand Barça fans from around the world will meet in the immediate vicinity of the Camp Nou to commemorate this historic milestone, coinciding with the celebration of the 40th edition of the World Congress of Supporters’ Clubs.
A century of history
1919 was the first time that the name ‘Penya Barcelonista’ appeared in an official FC Barcelona document. It coincided with the organisation of a dance for players and club members at the former ground on Carrer Industria in Barcelona. In 1944, the first Barça Supporters’ Club as we know today was made official: Peña Solera. From there, new groups were created, until in 1972 the first meeting between them was organised: The Trobada de Penyes a Montserrat was a major event that demonstrated the strength of the movement for the first time.
After experiencing a phase of growth during the 1980s, with a significant boost from the European Cup Winners’ Cup in Basel in 1979, the movement experienced its greatest expansion due to the massive and unprecedented trip from ‘Penyes’ in 1992 to attend the European Cup final at Wembley. Before then, there were 590 supporters’ clubs. Four years later, there were already more than 1,000.
The professionalisation and globalisation of the movement
Since then, the amount of Barça Supporters’ Clubs has experienced both quantitative and qualitative growth. The work carried out since 2010 has resulted in an important professionalisation of this group of fans, with the creation of the Penyes Services Office in 2010 and a census in 2012.
The Penyista Card, allowing members to be registered with the Club, was brought in for 2014, and the Supporters’ Clubs World Confederation was established in 2015 to give an organisational impetus to the main activities undertaken by the movement.
"Barça supporters have made history and will continue to make it, and the celebration of our centenary proves this. We would like to show our appreciation for the outstanding role that FC Barcelona have played in the professionalisation process and expansion that we have experienced over the last few decades, since it would not have been possible without their confidence and support," said Antoni Guil, president of the Supporters’ Clubs World Confederation.
From Barcelona to the world
At present, the Confederation is made up of around 1,250 supporters’ clubs and more than 164,000 members around the world, organised through 30 Territorial Federations that coordinate and provide personalised services to local organisations. Together, the ‘penyes’ establish a community with a significant impact in the community weight, organising more than 2,000 social, civic and sporting events per year, in locations located around the world.
Throughout its history, supporters’ clubs have become the home and the roots of the Club in their specific territory. "Today, with all the experience and motivation that this century of history brings us, the Confederation has the challenge and the opportunity to continue on this path by expanding an organisation that makes Barça grow better and better every day. To achieve this, we will work with excitement, professionalism and commitment, because, above all, we want to show our passion for Barça," added Guil.
The Centenary at the Supporters’ Clubs World Confederation
The 40th World Congress of Supporters’ Clubs will start its activities on Friday, August 2 and end on Sunday, August 4 –coinciding with the celebration of the Joan Gamper trophy game at the Camp Nou. Other events will take place throughout the season on the occasion of the Centenary celebration.