The festival of football celebrating Catalonia's most historic clubs
Strong community links and affordable entertainment ahead of the new season
Football in Catalonia goes far beyond FC Barcelona and Espanyol. Beneath the surface, there are thriving communities and proud histories of clubs that may not have the same glory and riches as Barça, but easily rival them for character and tradition.
The Torneig d’Historics—or Tournament of Historic Clubs—is a week-long pre-season festival of football contested by some of Catalonia’s most historic clubs, that were some of the first opponents of Barca in the Catalan championship before the foundation of La Liga in 1929.
With rich identities and histories, flourishing community spirits, and affordable entertainment on your doorstep, there are plenty of reasons to consider checking out your local team this season.
History and identity
Unio Esportiva Sant Andreu, 110 years old this year, are known for their very active fan groups that travel the country in huge numbers following their team. Their ultras group promote anti-racist and anti-sexist values, and work to make their club inclusive and welcoming for all. The club are also celebrated for their work in the community, and wear the logo of Open Arms, the migrant rescue ship sailing in the Mediterranean, on their shirt to promote awareness of the NGO.
UE Sants are one of the most historic clubs in the land, boasting over five thousand registered members in the 1920s. They regularly competed with the country’s best teams at the turn of the 20th century, amassing hundreds of trophies. They even called Barca’s Camp Nou their home for a period, when they came agonizingly close to reaching the second division in the 1960s.
Club Esportiu Júpiter have one of the most fascinating histories in the city of Barcelona. They’ve always been a politically active club, even dating as far back to the Spanish Civil War, when this anarchist outfit hid weapons inside footballs and beneath the stand in their stadium, playing their part in the struggles against the dictatorships of Primo de Rivera and Fransisco Franco.
Work in the community
Many of these clubs owe their longevity to their strong community links. Lleida Esportiu organized a Solidarity Tournament last year for differently-abled players to enjoy playing football, where parents of the players were also on teams.
FC Martinenc, organizers of the Torneig d’Historics, held a charity day in March this year, where materials and funds were collected so that Santos FC from Burkina Faso could recoup their women’s team.
CF Badalona, among other clubs, organize food and toy drives every winter, with the aim being that no child in the community is left without presents on Christmas.
All of this, plus the thrill of following your team’s ups and downs through the season. If you’re a football fan, nothing beats being at the game, soaking up the atmosphere, and celebrating goals.
Competing with Barca and televised football, clubs at this level make themselves as affordable and appealing as possible. Season tickets for some of the clubs competing in the Torneig go for as little as €30 - about half the price of the cheapest La Liga ticket in Camp Nou.
So this season, why not look up who your nearest team is, see where they play and how much tickets cost, and become an integral part of grassroots football that makes the beautiful game as beautiful as it is.
The Torneig d'Històrics sees twelve teams in total competing in Catalonia's premiere pre-season football tournament. Four groups of three teams each are decided with three matches of 45 minutes each.
This year, the group stage matches are played each evening from Monday, July 29 to Thursday, August 1. The semi-finals are played on Saturday, August 3, and the winner will be crowned on Sunday August 4. All games are played at the home of FC Martinenc, CEM Guinardó.
The Torneig d'Històrics also celebrates women's football, with a four-team tournament being held on the weekend of September 7 and 8.
Sabadell, Júpiter, Sant Andreu, and Martinenc will compete for the crown in the women's edition this year, being held in the same location of CEM Guinardó, the home of FC Martinenc. Entry to the tournament is free of charge.