FC Barcelona tries — and fails — to practice near White House on National Mall in Washington

July 28, 2011

F.C. Barcelona, in town for a rematch of the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday against Manchester United at FedEx Field, encountered some trouble Thursday when it tried to hold an impromptu training session on the National Mall.

As team members congregated on the Mall near the White House, video and photos posted by Spanish media show a U.S. Park Police officer asking team members, “Who is the leader of this group?” According to players and media reports, the team was told it could not train there.

The edited video then showed the players, dressed in yellow team shirts and tennis shoes, boarding the bus along with staff.

“Security said you couldn’t have a group of more than 10 or 15 there,” Barcelona midfielder Xavi said in his native Spanish at a press conference. “We wanted to loosen up a little, stretch. . . . Given that the White House was near so it was normal security, nothing more.”

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