Are Barcelona fan-owned? Catalan club's model & elections explained

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Some of the biggest and best football clubs in the world are owned by wealthy businessmen, who pump millions into their teams in search of success.

Premier League giants Chelsea are famously owned by Roman Abramovic, while Emirati Sheikh Mansour owns Manchester City and Stan Kroenke owns Arsenal, among other teams.

However, despite their standing, Barcelona are not owned by one super-rich billionaire backer. So who does own the Spanish giants?

Goal brings you all you need to know.

Contents

  1. Are Barcelona owned by the fans?
  2. What are Barcelona members called?
  3. How can I become a Barcelona member?
  4. What are the benefits of Barcelona membership?

Are Barcelona owned by the fans?

Barcelona is a members-owned club, with over 144,000 members, and fans are encouraged to become members.

This means that Barcelona is not owned outright by a single individual and decisions regarding the future direction of the club are made by the members.

The club motto Mes Que Un Club (More Than a Club) is central to the idea of being members-led, applying a democratic approach to an institution that is synonymous with Catalan pride.

We will often hear from the Barcelona president, but that individual is not the owner of the club; merely a part-owner, elected by other owners.

The Barcelona presidential elections are held every six years, but may take place earlier in exceptional circumstances.

What are Barcelona members called?

Barcelona members are known as socis in Catalan or socios in Spanish. The words socis and socios translate to 'partners' in English.

How can I become a Barcelona member?

Becoming a member of Barcelona is not as straightforward as simply filling out a form. 

Applicants must be able to demonstrate a familial tie to an existing Barcelona member or serve a probation period as a commitment card carrier.

As well as showing a photocopy of the two family members' national identification documents, an official document or family record confirming the relation is required.

The following familial relationships between a member and applicant-member are accepted:

  • Between parents and children
  • Between grandparents and grandchildren
  • Between married couples and registered partners
  • Between brothers and sisters (and in law)
  • Between parents and children in law
  • Between uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces
  • Between cousins
Arturo Vidal, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Barcelona

The price of the Barcelona membership is €185 a year (£167/$211) for an adult. It is cheaper for a child (€92) and an infant under six (€44).

In the event that you do not have a family member who is a member of the club and do not meet the requirements, you can apply for a commitment card.

After holding a commitment card for a period of three years, an individual can then apply to become a full member of Barcelona.

The annual fee for a commitment card is €144 (£130/$165), meaning you will have to invest at least €432 (£390/$495) before you can even apply for full membership.

In some extraordinary cases, the Barcelona board can grant membership whenever it deems such an exception appropriate.

What are the benefits of Barcelona membership?

The chief perk of Barcelona membership is the ability to vote in the club elections and have a say on who becomes the president of the vaunted institution.

In order to vote in Barcelona's presidential elections, members must be at least 18 years of age and they must have been a member for at least one year.

Voting as a member can only be done in person, so a member must be present at Camp Nou when elections are held in order to cast their ballot.

As well as voting rights, Barcelona members receive free and unlimited access to Barca TV, the club's official media channel, and correspondence in the form of the newsletter El Butlleti .

In addition, only fully paid-up members are entitled to apply for season tickets, but the demand means that there is often time spent on the waiting list.