Fair play is one of the key elements which the Club tries to teach its young footballers coming up through the academy system and the Youth B team again showed how the youngsters understand those values in their game against Castelldefels.
In an incident that echoed the gesture the Alevi B team made in 2007, this time it was the Youth B
team trained by Sergi Barjuan, who demonstrated that the values of fair play and good sportsmanship
are above any sporting success at the Club, as the academy system continues to train and educate
not just good footballers, but also good people.
Two points lost, but a valuable lesson learnt
Sergi’s young players came into the 28th week eight points ahead
of Espanyol at the top of their league and were looking for a win on
Saturday at Castelldefels
to take them a little closer to the title. With the game coming to an end and still goalless,
Barça’s , Carlos Julio Martínez fired home without realising that the hosts’ keeper was
lying injured on the ground. The goal was given as valid, but under instructions from their coach
the Youth B team allowed Castelldefels through to score a goal themselves to make up for it.
That was a gesture that lost the team two points and with Espanyol winning allowed their
rivals to close in on them, but the bigger lesson learned by the youngsters was once again that
fair play is more important that just winning for its own sake.
Echoes of 2007 incident
The gesture was widely covered in the Spanish media since it is unfortunately not
often that good sportsmanship outdoes the desire to win in Spain’s number one sport, but this
is not the first time a Barça team have shown such an attitude in recent years. In 2007 the Aleví B
team, then trained by the current Coordinator of youth football Albert Puig, caught the
media’s attention with a similar action. During the game against Espanyol, Barça’s
opponents kicked the ball out so that a player could receive treatment, but they didn’t give
possession back from the resulting free kick and indeed went on to score. Puig then insisted that
his charges allow Espanyol through to score in reply.
That was just one more lesson for the youngsters, and a typical example of how the youth
system aims to create not just great players like Messi, Iniesta or Xavi, but also players with the
same fair minded attitude.