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The Barcelona International Football League is an amateur eleven-a-side tournament based in Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain). Formed in 1992 by mainly British ex-pats living in Barcelona, the league has grown from strength to strength over the years and now includes eighteen teams playing most Saturdays from September until June. Although it started out as a league for foreign residents, mainly language teachers, it now features players from every corner of the globe and rom all walks of life. Just about every team includes several Spaniards (some are all Spanish/Catalan), and that nationality now akes up the majority, although there are also large numbers of Brits, Irish and South Americans, as well as representatives of just about every European country. Although many of the teams are still 'independent', most are now sponsored in some way or other, often by one of the international theme bars or English language publications in the city, which helps cover team fees, which are roughly 2400 euros per team per season to cover pitch fees, refereeing, administration and other costs.

The league meets for a general assembly meeting before and after each season, while the day to day running of the league is left in the capable hands of a six-person committee:

  • Nick Simons (President): nicksimonsbcn@yahoo.co.uk Tel: 649 261 328
  • Joaquin “Pitin” Salas (Secretary): pitin@westhambcn.com Tel: 615 062 299
  • Luca J Mancuso (Treasurer): lucajmancuso@gmail.com Tel: 678 53 86 11
  • Steve Varley (Discipline): varleysteve@gmail.com Tel: 660 171 075
  • Raul Caballero (Referee Cordinator) raulcaballero13@gmail.com Tel: 636 547 372
  • Chris Dottie (Vocal): Chris.Dottie@hays.es Tel: 677 996 511
  • Phil Bruff (Vocal): philbruff@gmail.com Tel: 606 155 816

What is the standard like?

Although this is an informal, non-federated and amateur league, it is taken extremely seriously by the teams that take part, and the standard is surprisingly high, with several players who could play, or have played, at a reasonably high level but choose not to for different reasons. However, the majority are fairly normal Sunday league type players, and anybody that is reasonably fit and has a bit of experience should be able to fit in.

How can I find a team?

This is not always as easy as it would seem. Particularly once the season has started, most teams already have more than enough players and may be struggling as it is to make sure everybody gets a game. Extra players can often just cause more of a headache to managers, so you will need to convince them that it really is worth their while taking you on. If a team is already 'full', regular players will not want to sit on the bench for the sake of giving a game to a stranger who is no better than they are. However, players come and go, get injured, get banned, get new jobs, get girlfriends and so on, and so most teams will be looking for potential new players at some time or other. Your best bet is to send your details to bifl@bifl.org and we'll post your details on the new players page of this site, which captains regularly check out, or contact the clubs directly, and see what happens. Otherwise, check the fixtures and go along in person to the grounds. That way you'll get an idea of what the level is like, and who knows, perhaps a team will be short and you'll get your chance.

How can I form a team?

Forming your own team is not easy, and the BIFL is always very cautious when it comes to accepting new sides, and has temporarily set a limit at eighteen teams. You will need to convince the league that you have a squad able to not only compete at a decent level but also guarantee that you will be able to pay the subscription fee of about 2400 euros, fulfill all fixtures with the right number of players in the correct football kit, and behave in the manner expected of the BIFL. Playing a full BIFL season is quite a commitment, and from experience we have learned to be wary when taking on new teams. The BIFL is under no obligation to accept any new teams, and you should consult the committee carefully before endeavouring to form a side.

What kit is needed?

All teams have shirts and shorts, and usually socks too, so all you will need is a shin pads and a pair of boots. All BIFL matches are played on artificial grass pitches, so moulded studs are best. Trainers can be worn, but are not recommended. Aluminium or metal studs are illegal in Spain and should never be worn.,

Where are the matches played?

Apart from the occasional trip to Terrassa and/or Sitges, all games are played on artificial grass pitches in and around Barcelona. See the 'pitches' section for maps of how to get to the grounds.

How can I play a match against one of the teams?

Most of the teams have very tight schedules, and arranging friendlies is not always easy during the season. However, you could try contacting league president Nick Simons at www.salbcn.com or phoning 93 218 67 31. He is also able to arrange friendlies against local Spanish clubs and help with other arrangements