FC Barcelona’s president Joan Laporta has officially inaugurated a new section of La Masia, which will be the home of female players.
For now, there are nine players living at La Masia’s newest section for women, all of them playing for the women’s B team. The nine players have been living there since August, but Barça thought the event would be a great opportunity to show the club’s commitment to women’s football. The event was hosted in the gardens of La Masia and was attended by a lot of board members, youth players (both male and female), and pioneers of women’s football at FC Barcelona.
Lolita Ortiz is one of those pioneers, having been part of the first-ever women’s game at the Camp Nou in 1970. She said at the event: “the conditions in which they can work now are luxurious, when we started it was very different.”
Alexia Putellas, current captain of FC Barcelona Femení, said: “they don’t only develop footballers but also people. Barça is taking firm steps towards equality. All the steps are important and they make ‘more than a club’ even greater – we are a reference point and it’s a privilege to wear this shirt.”
Alba Caño, one of the nine new residents, also got the opportunity to say a few words: “I’m proud to be part of the first female generation at La Masia and it’s a great step for women’s football at the club. We feel privileged and we want to thank everyone who has made it possible.”
President Joan Laporta gave a speech about the importance of women’s football: “it’s a proud moment to be involved with Barça on a day like today in which we can witness the residents coming together on this historic occasion. The club has opened the door to gender equality, linked completely to the ‘more than a club’ motto and we always have to be faithful to that idea.”
“La Masia is a space where we want to develop people first and that will help them become great footballers. This space is the spine of the club’s values and a mixed La Masia is a source of pride because we are pioneers and it’s a global model. Feeling Barça’s values is key to returning excellence to Barça and the values are here at La Masia.”
“This is being ‘more than a club’, which is not a slogan, but rather a declaration of principles. That La Masia is also open to women makes history, to begin with these first nine residents, but we must increase the number because that’s a sign that we are doing things well.”
There are now 106 people living in La Masia, all from different sports. The nine new residents will be combining football with their education.