FC Barcelona: Where Did It Get Its Colours From?

FC Barcelona is one of the best known football or soccer clubs in the world. One of the questions coming up every now and then is: How did it come by the colours blue and red?

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FC Barcelona is one of the best known football or soccer clubs in the world. One of the questions coming up every now and then is: How did it come by the colours blue and red?

The discussion about these colours has been going on almost as long as the club existed. There are several hypotheses being put forth in books, in the net and by TV stations. I will try to sort it out by what might be at least plausible. Some very weird claimants have appeared while I searched the net. The one person who never commented on it was Joan (or Hans) Gamper, one of the founders of the club and five times its president.

Hans Gamper was born near Zurich in Switzerland and moved to Barcelona in 1898. 1899 he co-founded the club together with local English and Spanish friends. The colours and the coat of arms were adopted at that time and there are no records on the issue. The colours are blue and red as seen on the shirt of 2006/2007 below.

Hans Gamper had been a member of FC Basel in Switzerland founded in 1893. As he was also its playing captain in the year prior to his move to Barcelona, a connection is at least plausible. FC Basel has the colours blue and red as seen on the shirt of 2006/2007 below. Depending on the language you read it in, Wikipedia either agrees, tentatively agrees, or refutes this claim.

Some people claim that the colours are the national colours of the State and Republic of Ticino in Switzerland. They are partly correct, as the colours of FC Basel derive from that source. As an older club had already claimed the colours black and white, the colours of Ticino were chosen, as these two states had traditionally very close ties. As you see from the coat of arms, the use had been inverted by the founders of FC Basel. This inversion makes the claim of FC Basel more acceptable to me than the Ticino version, as FC Barcelona colours are inverted as well.

Further claims I found were those made by FC Zurich in Switzerland, as Gamper was one of the co-founders of that club in 1896. The club’s colours are blue and white; the red seemingly just appeared out of thin air. Wikipedia in English claims Mersey FC as donator of the colours. Why, nobody knows. There are many other curious stories on the net. Most probably the colours were chosen on a whim y the founders without any thought to precedents.

Barcelona has the largest stadium in Europe, containing up to 98,000 fans. It is also held in the colours of blue and red. It is known by the name of Camp Nou, though it should have been named Camp Joan Gamper in 1957. Dictator Franco vetoed the name on grounds of personal hatred against the founder of FC Barcelona.

Basel has the largest stadium in Switzerland containing up to 40,000 fans. It is also held in blue and red. It is officially named St Jacobs Park, but nobody bothers with that. It is just called ‘Joggeli’ (pronounce it ‘yoggaelee’) in Alemannic.

As both clubs are currently playing against each other in the European Champions League, the colour question has been readdressed from all sides. FC Barcelona’s archives give no answer to the question, wherefore we may look forward to many more discussions of this topic.

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2 Comments
  1. Posted November 3, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Ive learned more about sports since I added you as a friend, then I ever knew before! Thanks for educating me…lol

  2. Posted November 13, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    LOL – useless information :)

    I’m afraid I just love it

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