x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Primera Liga: Camp Nou calls on more vocal fans to help end tailspin

Barcelona wants to launch a special section for young, vocal fans behind one goal in an attempt to make Camp Nou one of the most atmospheric stadiums in the world, writes Andy Mitten.

Barcelona fans wave pro independence Catalonia flags during the Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid. Andres Kudacki / AP Photo
Barcelona fans wave pro independence Catalonia flags during the Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid. Andres Kudacki / AP Photo

Barcelona need their supporters right now. Their form has wobbled, their coach is absent and there is a danger of their season unravelling in a run of defeats.

They also know that their supporters are not the most vocal and seldom make the Camp Nou the seething cauldron it should be.

That is partly because the Catalans expect the team to earn their support before they give it, partly because the most vocal fans also happen to be the most radical and violent and they have been banished from the stadium for six years. And partly because young fans cannot afford tickets to see their team, resulting in a stadium of middle-aged, middle-class fans, tourists and an often underwhelming atmosphere, despite average crowds of 80,000.

Barca intend to act. They want to launch a section for young, vocal fans directly behind one goal, where 110 tickets will cost just €10 (Dh48).

Sandro Rosell, the club president, met last week with all fan groups – including the once notorious Boixos Nois who were banished by his predecessor Joan Laporta.

The police want their say, too, with both them and the club warning they will not tolerate violence, nor the scenes around last week's clasico when lighted flares were thrown back and forth between Barca and Real Madrid ultras.

The sooner this can be sorted the better. Camp Nou should be one of the most atmospheric stadiums in the world, roaring on a superb team and intimidating opponents.

sports@thenational.ae

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