Barcelona President Defends Requiring Children Seven Or Younger To Have Tickets
Barcelona President Sandro Rosell "has claimed that it was a real wrench to make the decision to bar children under seven from coming to matches at the Camp Nou without a ticket," according to MARCA. This policy "will come into force" starting with the "Clásico" against Real Madrid on Oct. 26, amid "reports that 'up to 40,000 children without a ticket' were set to attend the match," owing to the early kickoff time of 6pm. Rosell: "No one is more against the decision I've made from a popular standpoint, but it was one that had to be made, it is my responsibility. I'd rather wake up to headlines reading 'Rosell won't let kids in' than ones saying 'Rosell was responsible for a kid's death.'" Rosell said that "this decision has not been taken lightly." Rosell said, "The security experts warned us that instead of 10,000 kids, some 40,000 could turn up for a Barça-Real Madrid game. That would give us an attendance of 140,000 people. It's not a question of respecting the law, but [we're worried that] anything could happen in the third tier of the stadium" (MARCA, 10/16). EL MUNDO reported Spanish state of Catalonia government official Ramón Espadaler said, "From our perspective there was no problem. It is a correct decision because it deals with over-capacity. We are studying what to do, but in high-risk games, there will not be exceptions" (EL MUNDO, 10/16).
FORMER VP CRITICAL: In Barcelona, Toni Quintana reported former Barcelona VP Alfons Godall "was very critical of Rosell's decision." Godall sided with "the families that, starting now, will possibly not be able to go with their children to see their favorite idols." Godall: "It is a shame because many Barcelona families will be affected. It is a life-long tradition that has always allowed children younger than seven free entry. What surprises me is that this happens with the Clásico in sight. I share the disappointment and sadness that many families and children are feeling" (SPORT, 10/16).