FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell confessed today that he is the first person to oppose the move he himself made to ban children under the age of seven without tickets from attending matches at Camp Nou.
The new ruling will come into effect as from the ‘Clásico’ meeting with Real Madrid on October 26th – a game which, due to the early kick-off time of 18:00 hours, might have been attended by some 40,000 children.
“From a populist point of view, I am the first person against the decision which I myself took but in terms of responsibility, it’s a decision I had to make,” Rosell told Catalunya Radio on Wednesday.
“I would rather the headline read: ‘Rosell refuses entry to children’ than ‘Rosell has killed a child’, he explained, adding that the move is a social and legal matter as well as a change to club tradition.
The President referred to a 2007 ruling which states that every person who attends an event must be in possession of a ticket and recalled last season’s midday meeting with Getafe which attracted 10,000 children.
The Interior Minister of the Autonomous Catalunya Community, Ramón Espadaler revealed that it was Rosell who informed him of the board’s decision to refuse entry to Camp Nou to under-7s. “From our perspective, we have no problems at all with it. It’s the correct decision when you consider the possibility that seating capacity could be exceeded by 30 or 40 per cent,” Espadaler explained.
Rosell meanwhile hinted that in certain cases, Barça might make exceptions. “We’re studying what to do but we will not make any exceptions to the rule for high-risk matches. We have to take action somehow because all the seats in the stadium are accounted for. No other stadium in Europe lets children in without a ticket. It’s a regulation which we don’t really want to apply, we are against it, but it’s the law.
“Security experts have warned us that for the Clásico, instead of 10,000 children hoping to enter the ground, there could be as much as 40,000. That would push crowd levels to 140,000 spectators. It’s not only about respecting the law; you also have to consider what might happen and what problems could occur with so many people inside the stadium,” he ended.