FC Basel have organised an exhibition at their stadium museum. The “ FCB meets FCB “ exhibition shows how businessman and former player Hans Gamper migrated to Spain before founding FC Barcelona in 1899.
According to legend, Gamper may even have based Barcelona’s half red, half blue team strip on Basel's near identical colours which had been in use since the Swiss club's own founding six years earlier.
“Sadly there is no historical document proving that Barca’s shirts were based on FC Basel’s, but the circumstantial evidence is quite compelling,” Swiss Sport Museum collection leader Hans-Dieter Gerber said.
“The fact that Gamper went to Spain and set up FC Barcelona who started playing with the same distinctive colours he had played in suggests the story is at least credible.”
Gamper's final presidency ended in controversial circumstances and personal tragedy. On June 24 1925, FC Barcelona fans jeered the Spanish national anthem and then applauded God Save the Queen performed by a visiting British Royal Marine band. The dictatorship of Primo de Rivera accused Gamper of promoting Catalan nationalism. Les Corts (the former Barcelona stadium) was closed for six months and Gamper was expelled from Spain.
Banished from Spain after being accused of fostering Catalan nationalism, he returned to Switzerland and committed suicide in 1930 after losing his fortune as a result of the previous year's Wall Street crash.
"When I was researching for the exhibition, Gamper's granddaughter in Spain told me that his name had long been taboo within the family because of the suicide, which was very hard to accept in such a strongly Catholic country," said Gerber.
"With changing attitudes, and the distance of time, that seems to be changing and hopefully the exhibition and the meeting of his two former clubs on Wednesday can help remind people of Gamper's importance to the joint history of both teams."