Soccer

Barcelona’s ‘La Masia’ Academy bans mobile phones for players

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 10: Barcelona youth players stand ready to play a match on one of the pitches at the Joan Camper training ground on April 10, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. Every weekend various teams of Barcelona youth players play in matches with the hope of one day making it to the top. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

La Masia’s new director reportedly banned mobile phones at matches and on club grounds in a groundbreaking move. José Ramón Alexanko announced the new rule to all Barcelona’s youth coaches after his appointment as the academy’s director.

Additionally, he banned “strange hairstyles” for all academy players. The rules come as an effort to tone down distractions and promote discipline. The former Barcelona player spent 13 years at the club, so he no doubt knows the club’s inner workings.

The new policy was outlined more in-depth at the meeting.

The kids will have to give the phone to the club delegate as soon as they arrive at the [training ground] and it will be delivered to them when they leave the dressing room.

José Ramón Alexanko

In the past, La Masia produced world-class players that starred for Barca and on the world stage. The likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta came through the ranks at the academy. However, recent history tarnished the club’s reputation as players’ output greatly reduced in recent years.

New and exciting prospects like Ansu Fati and Pedri fill recent news of La Masia’s success, but its overall quality seemingly dropped since its heyday in the early to mid-2000s. Simultaneously, the first team seemingly changed its ideals to pursue more players rather than producing talent.

The signings of pricey players like Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann only bolstered this change. It also led to a bit of financial trouble for the club, which currently suffers from debt. Even club legend Messi suffered a pay cut as a result.

In today’s age, most young players have at least one form of social media. Many times, platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have negative effects on a player’s mentality. As a result, many veterans criticize this “new age” of soccer and the new problems that come with it. Hopefully, for La Masia, the new rules have a lasting impact.

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