Joan Gamper

Joan Gamper

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Joan Gamper

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Joan Gamper () (22 November 1877 – 30 July 1930) previously known as Hans Kamper was a Swiss football pioneer, player and club president. He founded football clubs in Switzerland and Catalonia (Spain), most notably FC Basel, FC Zurich and FC Barcelona.

Early years

Hans-Max Gamper (his mother's maiden name – Haessig – is generally appended in Spanish sources) was born in Winterthur, Switzerland. He was the eldest son and third of five children born to August Gamper and Rosine Emma Haessig. His mother died of tuberculosis when he was eight and the family moved to Basel. As a youngster, Gamper was a keen cyclist and runner. Throughout his life he was a lover of all sports and, apart from football, he also played rugby union, tennis and golf. In Switzerland, he was highly regarded as a footballer and was club captain at FC Basel and co-founder and player of FC Zurich. In 1897, work took him to Lyon in France, where he played rugby for Athletique Union.

Founding FC Barcelona

In 1898 he went to Barcelona to visit his uncle, Emili Gaissert, who was living there. He was on his way to Africa to help set up some sugar trading companies but fell in love with the Spanish city and decided to stay put. He would later become a fluent Catalan speaker and adopt the Catalan version of his name, Joan Gamper. As an accountant, he found work with Crédit Lyonnais, the Sarria Railway Company and as a sports columnist, he worked for...
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