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The mystery of Camp Nou's empty seats

The mystery of the Camp Nou stands is worthy of Georges Simenon putting Maigret on the case. The synopsis could read thus: “Barcelona have Leo Messi, the best player in the world, in their team, a player who fans from all around the world would give an arm to see in action live. Many people travel to Barcelona specifically with this goal in mind. The club is a successful one with a team that has become used to dominating championships with an attractive style of play that encompasses not just Messi, but several other stars of the game.

Barcelona enjoys a huge fan base that easily outstrips the capacity of the stadium and as a result there is a waiting list of 10,000 people to buy a non-refundable season ticket in the hope that one day a space becomes available and they will be able to see the Argentinean and company in the flesh. However, the Camp Nou is hardly ever full. Sometimes, the rows of empty seats give it a deplorable aspect. Season-ticket holders sell their seats and then complain that they receive little money in return from the club via the legal resale market.

“An enthralling novel in which accusations fly between club members and the board, who they accuse of swindling them on prices; of fans accusing each other of selling the soul of the club to facilitate the desires of tourists; a great club and an empty stadium.”

Good luck with that, Maigret.

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