I received tons of messages from you asking about the topic of FC Barcelona socio and how to become one. You asked first of all because you were eager to sign the petition against Bartomeu and his board but also because you’d like to be a socio to influence the club’s future in the elections.
So here’s the most up-to-date guide where I will show you step by step how to become a socio (or soci in Catalan, you can use both forms).
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Laporta has already announced his plan is to scrape the mandatory 3 years waiting period but as of now there’s no official information when that might happen.
So who exactly are socios?
FC Barcelona is a unique club. It’s a club with a specific philosophy, deeply rooted in the local identity of the city and autonomous region of Catalonia and at the same time, it’s a global brand and one of the biggest football corporations in the world. A club that has its football academy La Masia as a symbol but at the same time burns money on overrated foreign stars. Also, the owners of FC Barcelona are unique.
Catalans love to meet, gather, and do stuff together. Going to a restaurant or a bar by yourself is considered a bit weird. Gossip and chit-chat are a part of everyday life so after nearly five years of living here I understand why FC Barcelona doesn’t belong to just one person but socios – members. Currently in 2020, there are around 141,000 socios but this number changes every year.
Members have also an influence on the functioning of FC Barcelona. First of all, it’s because of them there can be no sheik who comes to Catalonia with a bag of gold to buy the club. It’s a good thing.
So if FC Barcelona is a democracy then logically we need elections to choose our Presidente. And that’s exactly what happens every few years. The current president is Josep Maria Bartomeu who won the last elections in 2015. Unless the vote of no confidence goes through fingers crossed) his term will end in 2021 and he won’t be able to run for the office again.
Finally, if there is a crucial decision to be made regarding FC Barcelona’s future the board can call for a referendum. The last two ones were about the change of the club’s crest (dismissed) and the construction of Espai Barça (approved).
If you are a Barça socio you can also try to get your own season ticket (asiento). Currently however it takes around 10 years in total.
How to become a socio method #1: Carnet de compromís
There are two ways to become a socio. Both of them take 3 years and there’s no way to skip it. But apart from it, there are huge differences. By having carnet de compromís you become a sort of associated socio, so not really a socio but you’ll pay like you were.
- First of all, you need to come to Barcelona to go to the OAB (Oficina de Atenció al Barcelonista) office. It’s a building on the corner of Travessera Les Corts and Aristides Maillol. If you go through the gate with a BENVINGUTS photo turn right behind the tapas bar.
- You can get the card on the spot, right now it costs 144 EUR per year. The fee you pay is proportional to the number of days left in a calendar year. Os of you come in July it will be around 70 EUR, if in December 12 EUR etc. Next year you’ll have to pay the whole sum. There is no “window” to get the card, it doesn’t matter when you go to the OAB.
- You have to renew the card in person in Barcelona every year between 1 June and 30 October.
- After 3 consecutive years of holding the carnet, you can come to OAB and become a socio on spot.
So… what does the carnet de compromís give you? It’s easy – apart from a small (5%) discount in the Megastore not much. Occasionally you’ll be able to buy tickets in the pre-sale.
According to the FC Barcelona website:
In general terms, Commitment Card holders do NOT have the rights for members, which are specifically established in the Club statutes.
Click HERE for full description of the process.
SUMMARY: Is carnet de compromís worth it? Not really. This method of becoming a socio is quite expensive (3 x 144 eur = 432 EUR, basically you pay 12 EUR per month for 3 years). Another minus is the fact that you have to come to Barcelona once a year. If you live in Europe it’s probably easier but still – even if you miss the window once the whole process needs to be started over (and you had paid for nothing).
Luckily there’s an easier way.
How to become a socio method #2: join a penya!
This is how I got my socio card, after three years of waiting. Penyas are official fan clubs scattered throughout the world. How to become a socio by being a member of a penya? It’s quite simple actually.
- Join a penya! There are lots to choose from, you can find all of them listed HERE. If you speak Polish you’re welcome to join Penya Blaugrana de Lodz of which I have the honor of being a president.
- Your penya puts you in the official FC Barcelona system (OAP).
- After 3 years have passed tell the president of your penya that you want to become a socio. He will need to contact FC Barcelona and they will check if everything’s in order.
- If so, Barça will prepare a certificate and it will wait for you in the OAB. Then it’s just a matter of coming to Camp Nou and you can become a socio on spot like with the previous method.
SUMMARY: this method is around 10 times cheaper because the only fee you have to pay is to the fan club. For example, we at Penya Łódź have decided that the yearly membership will cost 70 PLN which is around 15 EUR. In three years you’d pay around 45 EUR then instead of 432 EUR for a carnet de compromís! That’s a huge difference.
The penya method is also much more convenient because there’s no requirement to come to Barcelona unless you really want to. Also, key La Liga or Champions League games never take place between June and October.
Not to mention other advantages of being in a penya – you also get a small discount in a store, you can attend Penyes World Congress and the most important thing – you’ll meet fellow Barça freaks and you can go see a game with them, not just at the Camp Nou!
FAQ (frequently asked questions):
- Is it worth it to become an FC Barcelona socio?
I think it is. Apart from being a club member and having a real influence on FC Barcelona politics, you will get discounts for tickets and the ability to buy them in a pre-sale for the most anticipated games like El Clásico. After a few years more you’ll have the ability to vote in the referendums (if you get elected as a socio compromisario).
Members have also Barça TV + for free in addition to some local discounts like in Catalan theme park Port Aventura.
2. How much does being a member cost and what are the required documents?
Currently in 2020, the socio membership fee costs 185 EUR per year, paid in full at the beginning of every year. Regarding the documents you only really need your ID and a bank account number (which I don’t understand because your bank account won’t be charged automatically, you’ll pay the membership fee every year manually).
As soon as you become a socio you’ll get a welcome pack for starters which is a nice gesture. In this video below you can see what I got.
3. How to get FC Barcelona season ticket?
Ok, so to get an asiento first of all you need to be a socio for at least 3 years. Then you’ll be able to sign up for La lista de espera (waiting list). You’ll be able to choose your preferences in the sector (if you have any) and from then on you’ll have to come to Barcelona once per year to confirm your interest. Fortunately, this is only for the first 3 years of waiting.
It is now also possible to get a season ticket from someone if they transfer their card to you. It is supposed to be free but of course there are many offers online with prices starting from around 2000 EUR. Remember that purchasing the right to an asiento is illegal.
4. Is there any way to become a socio and skip the 3 years wait?
Yes, there are but they are rare. You can become a socio on the spot if you had already been a socio for a minimum of two consecutive years or if you have a member in your immediate family, i. e. a husband, a brother, a cousin and so on. You’ll find all the information needed HERE.
5. Is there an age limit on becoming a socio?
No there isn’t. You can even sign up newborn up if you wish. Also, children younger than six years old can register for free and children from 6-14 years old only pay some of the yearly fee.
As you see the topic of becoming an FC Barcelona member is not the easiest one and I wanted to create the best and most up-to-date guide you’ll find on the internet. I hope you found it helpful and who knows, maybe you’ll take part in the next elections which should take place in 2026?
Personally I would like to have more foreign socios. They often love Barça just as much as the locals do which was clear to me during the protests vs Bartomeu lately.