Service and Operations Management

The Handball Section at FC Barcelona

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The season had just finished. It was July 2013. Toni Gerona, head coach for young talent development of the FC Barcelona Handball section, reflected on the team's achievements and the significance of those achievements for the club. The first team dominated the national tournament, winning their 20th championship title (Liga ASOBAL, the Spanish professional handball league). But the King's Cup (Copa del Rey) proved elusive as the team suffered a defeat against Atlético de Madrid, and lost the European Champions League final by just one goal in overtime in an epic match against HSV Hamburg. In addition to the first team, the junior divisions managed by Toni achieved outstanding results during the 2012/2013 season. Toni felt that some talented players the club had developed from childhood could be interesting options for the first team in their quest for the triple crown next year. But competition would be tough: a few weeks after the season ended, the club signed handball superstars Kiryl Lazarov and Nicola Karabatic to strengthen the team to help bring the Champions League title back to Barcelona. On the one hand, hiring these two players would greatly benefit the first team. On the other hand, they would occupy important positions within the squad, thus preventing some junior players from advancing. Toni couldn´t help wondering if the balance was right between the long-term work that the club did toward developing young talent and the first team´s short-term objectives of achieving results. He knew that for a club whose main objective is always to be among the handball elite, good was sometimes not good enough. He was certain that some adjustments would have to be made in order to be even more competitive next year. Some recent events had to be taken into account as well: on July 9, Atlético de Madrid, FC Barcelona's main contender in Spain, announced that it would withdraw from the league and close its handball section altogether.
Bibliographic citation: Martínez de Albéniz, Victor; Martínez-Frausto, Rafael, "The Handball Section at FC Barcelona", IESE, P-1127-E, 11/2013
Date: 14/11/2013
Author(s): Martínez de Albéniz, Victor; Martínez-Frausto, Rafael
Document type: Case
Department: Production, Technology and Operations Management
Sector: Entertainment and leisure services
Languages: Spanish / English
Year of the events: 2013
Geographic area: Spain