October 2, 2012

On the Barca/Shalit Mess

A quick word on the whole mess about Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit attending the Clasico at Camp Nou. First of all, I would like to clarify that I would not defend Barca, just because they are my club, against something I believe to be wrong, and know that I was quick to sign the petition organized by BDS Catalunya against Barca hosting Shalit at the Camp Nou for the Clasico and also disseminate the petition on twitter. But I, at the time, hadn't looked into the story properly and the claims made in the petition - that Barca's president had invited Shalit to the Camp Nou as a guest of honor - are in fact false. FCB took no initiative at all to extend an invitation to Shalit for the Clasico. It was he who asked to attend, through an intermediary ex-minister who requested the tickets from Barca without the club knowing exactly who they were for. President Sandro Rosell knew nothing about it. A mess was made and the club tried to cover up, but they never intended for any of this to happen. Another thing worth mentioning is that, as someone with more insight into the club put it, FCB as a club kind of lives in a Catalan bubble and it isn’t the first time they make a mess of global relations. They don’t have much of an understanding when it comes to these situations, which is something to take into consideration. It’s clear that they just want to mind their own business and not take sides or get involved more than they can help.