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Page last updated at 20:19 GMT, Sunday, 9 May 2010 21:19 UK

Barca branch into rugby league

Barcelona's famous Nou Camp stadium holds almost 100,000 people
Barcelona are one of the most famous football teams in the world

Don't expect to see Lionel Messi scooting out from dummy-half or Xavi doing the hard yards up the middle, but rugby league has received a boost with the news that Barcelona have launched a team in the Catalan Rugby League Championship.

Barcelona's sporting club - which, of course, includes the world-famous football club - also includes a handball, roller-hockey, basketball and athletics team set-up.

Rugby league is well established in Catalonia, with Perpignan-based French club Catalans Dragons joining Super League in 2006.

In June 2009, a crowd of more than 18,000 turned out at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona to watch the Dragons' 24-12 defeat by Warrington.

Catalonia have also played as a representative side, facing the likes of Morocco and Belgium in recent years.

FC Barcelona are one of two new teams, together with CR Cornellà, to take part in the 2010 championship, which will conclude in mid-June.

The reigning champions are Barcelona University Club, who beat CR Sant Cugat 36-28 in last year's inaugural final.

Barcelona's football team, containing superstars of the sport like Messi, Thierry Henry and Andres Iniesta, are top of the Spanish league this season, after completing an historic treble last year.

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see also
Catalans Dragons 12-24 Warrington
20 Jun 09 |  Rugby League
Flying the flag for France
24 Aug 07 |  Rugby League
Dragons aim to lift French game
24 Aug 07 |  Rugby League
French rugby league fights for rights
08 Oct 02 |  From Our Own Correspondent

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