Maria Teixidor, responsible for the club’s women’s football, has taken Barça Femení to new heights with her work towards equality and her determination to make the team one of the best in the world too.
Beyond the pitch, every sports club is a reflection of what is happening in society and the values it promotes. In recent seasons, Barça has stood their ground for women’s football, which recently had its greatest success in reaching their first-ever Champions League final last season. At the same time, the board of directors of FC Barcelona and head of Barça Femení, Maria Teixidor, has been one of the most visible faces of the club’s current board.
Maria Teixidor, board member of FC Barcelona, secretary to oversee women’s football, a lawyer, mediator, and businesswoman, plays a great role in strengthening Barça Femení, and is constantly working towards giving them the platform they deserve. Thanks to her, we have a wonderful project before us with the women’s team.
Currently, she is responsible for Women’s Football, since January 2018, and holds the title of President of the Club Control and Transparency Commission, since September 2017. Additionally, she is President of the Grup Edelmira Calvetó (from January 2017, member since October 2015,) an entity set up by the Barcelona board with the mission of reclaiming the legacy of women in FC Barcelona’s history, promote women’s participation at the club, and debate the role of women in sport.
As a director, she oversees activities related to children and to senior citizens such as the FCB Senate and the Casal de l’Avi. She also represents the club at the Women and Sport Working Group that forms part of the Barcelona City Council’s Municipal Committee for Sport.
How she started
Her journey started from being a lawyer, to becoming a businesswoman and mediator, to becoming one of only two women in the FC Barcelona Board of Directors. As a lawyer, she started working in the intellectual property field and realised how the new developments were changing the business from all perspectives.
She had her first company that developed the subways to catch piracy and copyright infringements on the Internet. Later she left the law office where she worked and started her own practice as a working mother. Then she sold a part of her first company and started a second one which developed an application for kids to notify their schools of any harassment.
Maria Teixidor i Jufresa has promoted the women’s football and has made of Barça Femení a very respected team around the globe | Photo by FC Barcelona
She was a member of the club since she was a kid and used to go to the stadium with her father, as stated by her. After Bartomeu’s victory in the July 2015 club elections. she became a member of the board. Currently, she is in charge of the women’s football and women issues. On the other side, she is the secretary of the board and the president of the ethics committee of the club.
What she means to women’s football
Maria Teixidor is the person with the best inner knowledge of the club’s structure. She played a key role in women’s football when they were made professional back in the 2015/16 season. Teixidor made sure women at the club could make a living out of playing football. Before 2015, women’s players had to work a second job besides football and/or study to ensure to get a job.
Professionalisation in women’s football is also about training in the mornings instead of late in the afternoon, getting a wider staff structure, eating at the premises under the strict control of the medical staff, and better performance and being monitored – just like male footballers. What we are seeing here is a revolution, in the way they play, practice and in what they get in return. This shows that when women are given the same conditions as men, they blossom and achieve great results. A large part of this evolution happened to the women’s team thanks to Maria Teixidor.
“Women are 27% of the Barcelona club’s social mass and we want to recover the culé women’s history and make members visible”Maria Teixidor
Maria Teixidor played a huge role by making the women’s team of Barcelona travel along with the men’s team during the pre-season tour to the US in 2018. There was criticism when the club was criticized for giving the women’s team economy class seats while the men’s team a business class. Maria defended with integrity:
“To all of you who these days decided to criticize the conditions of the women’s team’s trip, I say that Barca asked its female team to travel with its male team so that in the future they can travel in business class on their own plane, that will be the day we can talk about equality, because women’s sport will have the same media coverage, sponsorship deals and fan interest as men’s sport…Until that day arrives, it would be nice for those who criticize us today could recognize the effort that the club is making today to promote women’s sport. Until then, we ask for less cynicism”
What she means to Barça Femení
Yes, she is a part of Josep Maria Bartomeu’s board, but Maria Teixidor seems to be made of another paste. She is very involved, with strong character and excellent speaking skills. Teixidor could very well be the first woman to preside over Barça if she can keep hold of the values of the club.
Maria Teixidor on Barça players selected for the World Cup in France: “We are very proud, it was Spain’s second participation in a World Cup and it was seen that there is a level, that you can play, we are very proud of the fact that the base of this team is Barça, it shows that we are doing the job well”.
Last year Barça Femení reached the Champions League final for the first time in their history, in a proof of the team’s stellar growth in recent years | Photo by Tim Goode via Imago
“It is the club that has the most players in this World Cup, our bet is good. The players we have are at the world class level and we are building a team for the present and future”
The impact she had in signing some of the best women’s footballers around the world and in Spain have taken Barcelona to astronomical heights. Lieke Martens extending her contract until 2022 along with the Spain stars Alexia Putellas, Leila Ouahabi, Mariona and Mapi León means they have a clear project for the next few years. Her other signings including Caroline Graham Hansen, Jennifer Hermoso, Andrea Falcón and Asisat Oshoala showed what Barcelona can bring to the women’s game, thus transforming them into one of the best in Europe.
Due to her constant efforts in getting a shirt sponsor for Barça Femení, STANLEY became the first main jersey partner of FC Barcelona’s women’s team in July 2018. In addition to this, back in January 2020, Barcelona partnered with clothing brand Naulover as a sponsor of its women’s team.
The contract between the Catalan organisations will run for two and a half years, until the end of the 2022/23 football season. The deal represents the first time Barça Femení has had a sponsor for off-the-field clothing. Its players and coaching staff will wear Naulover on all away trips for the league, Champions League, Copa de la Reina and Cup final games.
Fighting for sponsorship and media rights
This season, Barcelona decided to broadcast their first league game against Atlético de Madrid without the permission of the company or the clubs, something that according to regulations cannot be done. The situation left thousands of spectators unattended and did the sport a disservice, but nevertheless, the club was taken to court.
All this happened due to a conflict between the blaugranas and the RFEF (Royal Spanish Football Federation) Mediapro has the rights to 12 of the 16 Primera teams. Instead, FC Barcelona, Athletic Club, Tacón and Madrid CFF are the four clubs not associated with Mediapro, meaning they negotiate their broadcasting agreements through the RFEF. Therefore, when one team from each side faces, the match cannot be broadcasted.
Barcelona is fighting hard so that the women’s games can be viewed by far more people than those who attend the new Estadi Johan Cruyff | Photo by Imago
Despite the court decision, Barça decided at the last minute to broadcast the game through Barça TV, announcing it in a statement first thing on Saturday. A decision by which Mediapro and the Madrid side have already taken legal measures, but which have been taken with ease by the club.
Teixidor’s explanation on the dispute: “It is a feast of women’s football, the most anticipated match of Primera Iberdrola. There is an evident general interest of the public that follows us. Obviously, we could not stop retransmitting it”.
We aren’t certain if Maria Teixidor is going to hold her position or leave along with the board of Bartomeu, but what she has already done to the development of Barcelona Femení is something that is going to reverberate throughout the club for years to come. She has created a legacy just like the men’s team of the 2000s and 2010s by keeping the team loved, respected, and maintaining interested in the women’s team. We hope she will stay with the team for years to come and continue helping them build an empire as one of the biggest superpowers in women’s football.
In March 2020, Forbes analysed the rapid growth of FC Barcelona Femení and discussed the club’s growing relationship with women’s football. You can read that here.
FCB Femeni’s January Player of the Month: Alexia Putellas
Another month down, another couple of wins for FCB Femeni. The team is in smooth sailing towards their second consecutive league title with an otherworldly wins-only season, including 73 goals scored and only 3 conceded. January was a rough month for the Catalan team, however, as they faced multiple match cancellations due to both a freak snowstorm and COVID-19 positives alongside an early Supercopa Femenina exit. Aside from the many downs, there were plenty of positives. FCB Femeni played a history-making match at the Camp Nou, the team’s first competitive match in the iconic stadium, and they dominated in a resounding 5-0 win against local rivals Espanyol Femeni. Later in the month, they smashed Rayo Vallecano Femenino 7-0, and at the end of January, they won the second-ever El Clasico Femenino against Real Madrid, scoring 4 at the Estadi Johan Cruyff.
Given the many iconic moments in this month alone, it was never going to be an easy choice. Plenty of players showed up big this month. Asisat Oshoala seems to have returned to form after a rough few months, scoring four goals and having many quality performances aside from her goalscoring. Melanie Serrano has had one of her best seasons in recent memory, and her performances this month were no exception. But if there was one player who came in clutch and made history, it was Alexia Putellas. She started the year strongly by being the first-ever woman to score a competitive goal at the Camp Nou. Her free kick in the dying minutes of the Supercopa Femenina saved Barcelona from going out in regular time against Atletico Madrid. At the end of the month, she drew first blood in the second-ever Clasico, imposing herself against Los Blancos with relative ease. Aside from her goalscoring, she once again had multiple dominant performances in terms of her assisting, passing, and attacking play. Once again, Alexia Putellas is deservedly our player of the month for January.
Primera Iberdrola – RCD Espanyol Femeni (Camp Nou) (6/1/2021): 5-0
• Minutes: 90
• 1 Goal
January 6th marked a historic day for Barcelona as they entered the Camp Nou pitch for the first time after 50 years. The Blaugranas started the game on a bright note with Alexia dictating the play. At the 4th minute of the game, Alexia had a tame shot at the goal following a cut-back from Melanie Serrano. As the shots racked up in the beginning minutes, it looked like Barca would follow this season’s pattern of scoring an early goal. However, Barca were devoid of any clear cut chances after that, and Espanyol started to grow defensively as time went on.
The second big chance fell to Alexia Putellas in the 43rd minute after a cutback this time from Patri following a beautiful couple of moves inside the box. Again, Alexia’s shot was too weak with her right foot and it found the hands of the goalkeeper. However, Alexia made up for her misses when the turning point of the game came in the 45th minute. During a stoppage-time corner, Alexia raced past the marker to head the ball into the far corner of the net, giving Barca some much-needed breathing room going into the half-time. Barca cruised to victory in the second half with a scoreline of 5-0 after goals from Melanie Serrano, Marta Torrejon, Lieke Martens, and Ana Maria Crnogocevic, which ended any hopes of a comeback for the local rivals.
Spanish Supercopa Femenino: Semi Finals – Atletico Madrid Femenino (A) (13/1/2021): 1-1 ( 3-1 PT)
• Minutes: 120
• Goals: 1
Barca played Atléti in the Spanish Supercup semifinal on January 13th. Both the teams were going into the game after Spain’s freak snowstorm, “Filomena,” canceled all the league’s Madrid-based weekend matches. Atlético Madrid announced the re-hiring of manager Dani Gonzalez on the eve of the matchday, sparking a lot of excitement going into the game. The game followed a similar pattern to that of the one played in August when Barça defeated Las Colchoneras to clinch a spot in the UWCL semifinals. As expected, Atleti defended with 9 women at the back and played long balls to Ludmila whenever they had a chance to counter.
Even though Barcelona dominated the game, they failed to score and paid for their lack of effectiveness when Atléti were awarded a penalty in the 66th minute. Merel van Dongen then converted it to give Madrid the advantage. It looked like everything was lost until the 90th minute when Alexia was brought down at the edge of the box. Although it looked like Barcelona was going to lose in regular time, the midfielder had other ideas and took matters into her own hands. Alexia scored a sublime free-kick past a diving Hedvig Lindahl who, until then, was keeping Barca at bay for 90 excellent minutes. In the end, it was not enough for Barca as they paid the price for not converting their chances, also being kept down by some harsh refereeing decisions not going their way. The Catalans ended up losing to Atléti on penalty kicks and were knocked out of the tournament, thereby missing their first possible title of the year.
Primera Iberdrola – Rayo Vallecano (H) (20/1/2021): 7-0
• Minutes: 72
• Goals: 2
FCB Femeni came into the game after their tough semifinal loss to Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Supercup, hoping to get back into their rhythm. Barça scored an early goal inside 5 minutes after Alexia’s header was parried into the feet of Jennifer Hermoso. After the first goal, it was one-way traffic for the home side as they punctured Rayo’s defense with another 3 goals- Alexia being the catalyst of each of them.
Alexia scored her first goal of the game following Melanie’s cross. She stayed in position and gracefully chipped over the keeper’s head to double Barca’s lead. She remained a key part of the midfield in tracking back and dictating the entirety of the half and scored her second goal following a well-worked team move. In the 40th minute of the game, Asisat Oshoala was sent through by Jennifer Hermoso, and Asisat teed up Caroline Graham-Hansen to score from close range. However, Hansen’s shot was blocked and the ball fell into the path of Alexia for an easy tap-in. Barça easily swept past mid-table Rayo to remain top of the table after the matchday.
Primera Iberdrola – Real Madrid (H) (31/1/2021): 4-1
• Minutes: 87
• Goals: 1
• Second Assists:1
Barça faced their new league rival Real Madrid Femenino in the last game of the month, 11 days after their match against Rayo due to multiple match cancellations. This was expected to be a totally different game compared to their first encounter, as Los Blancos have grown into the league and were occupying the second-place position at the time. All the match previews indicated that Real Madrid were in great form, recording only 3 losses in 15 games, with a much more balanced and cohesive team than their first game against the Blaugranas. Additionally, if the team from Spain’s capital won at the Estadi Johan Cruyff, they would’ve gone to the top of the league.
The match started with Real Madrid and Barcelona both going on the offense and trying to assert themselves. Despite Madrid entering the match bravely and attacking well, Barcelona scored first just 14 minutes into the match. Once again, it was the captain, Alexia Putellas, who kicked it off for the Catalan team. Alexia was intuitive in collecting the ball at the edge of the box and scoring a blistering strike to the top left of the net that Misa Rodriguez struggled to get a hand on. From then, it was a similar pattern as the first Clásico, and Barça advanced to a 3 goal lead by the end of the first half. The match proved that Madrid’s women have improved a lot, but they were never a match to the 2019-20 champions as Barca ran out winners 4-1 at the end of full-time.
When Alexia is fit and firing, there isn’t a way to stop her from creating chances and scoring goals. After her breakout out season last year, she’s continued her form and is having yet another world-class season. Alexia only continues to get better and better, and with a lot of important competitions in the next few months, her performances will be integral to the success of the club.