Saturday, October 31, 2009

Godall: "Being president would be a dream"

Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall gave last month an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport in which he talked about the upcoming elections.

You've said before that you would leave the club together with Laporta. What would you do if your president and longtime friend, who has always seen you as his successor, would ask you, together with your colleagues of the board, to reconsider your position?
I initially thought that the best thing was to leave together with Joan Laporta after having led the club for seven years and having spent several years in the entourage of the club before. As time will go by, everyone will agree this has been an excellent period from all points of view: sporting, economic and social. So first it was clear to me that I would like to leave with him, but now I'm rethinking it because of some upcoming changes in my personal life. I want to be at the disposal of my colleagues to take part in one way or another in the candidacy that will be based on our experience. In that sense, I can say that I will decide together with the others what the role of every one of us should be in setting up the candidacy. I'm at the disposal of the board for whatever will be decided.

Depending on that decision, would you be willing to lead the candidacy?
We have to talk together. There are directors who have an excellent profile to run for president. I'm at the disposal of my board colleagues for whatever they want in the fuure.

Being president is your dream?
It would be a dream of all the culés, especially for those who weren't talented enough to actually play football. Being a board member and especially being the highest in rank is a big dream. Despite that, it should be clear that leading this club is not easy. When the results are good everything is fine, but when they're not, the problems start. Even when the management is good. Barça is a factory of emotions and feelings that are in the first place linked with the performances of the football team.

Will the election campaign be tense?
The obligation of everyone is to respect Barça and to maintain the club's stability. An election process cannot damage the club. From within the club, we'll make a proposal based on what has clearly bear fruit: at the sporting area, with a spectacular economic and assets growth, the number of club members has increased, the social commitment of the club is clear because of the foundation and the strategic partnership with Unicef. This is a great moment for the club and that will be our starting point for the future, adding some new ideas to that. Barça is the best sporting club in the world but the best is yet to come. These are only the first results.

How do you look forward to the coming year?
With a lot of calmness and serenity. The daily work at Barça is so intense that the elections are still somehow far away. We have established a project that is worth to be further developed in the future. I feel that all my colleagues are ready to build a candidcay of continuity, of future, starting from our experience. We will outline things very soon and we'll choose the right person.

Read more:
Boix: "Many directors qualified to be president"
Laporta: "Sala as president would be an honour"

interview: joan vehils and jordi gil

Poll: Third term for Laporta?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Introducing Benedito (3) : The affair too much

Earlier this month, Catalan businessman Agustí Benedito announced his intention to take part in next year's elections for president of FC Barcelona. This blog will this week give an introduction on the pre-candidate.

On Tuesday 17 February of this year, the regional Balearic Islands edition of Spanish newspaper El Mundo claimed that
Laporta & Arbós, the law firm co-owned by Barcelona president Joan Laporta, had been involved in an attempt to sell Spanish first division club Mallorca in 2008.

In July of 2008, Laporta's law firm would have proposed to Binipuntiró, a company of then Mallorca president Vicenç Grande that owned the club, to sell their shares (that represented more than 90%) to
Zeromax, a company registered in Switzerland but primarily active in Uzbekistan, where it conducts business in oil and gas, agriculture, textiles, construction, mining and logistics.

The deal would provisionally have been valued at 60 million euros pending a full examination of the financial situation of the club. On 30 July, Laporta & Arbós was given the official authorization by Binipuntiró to start the negotiations with Zeromax. The mandate said that the law firm would receive 7 per cent of the fee paid by the buyers.

When Binipuntiró informed the trustees in insolvency about the ongoing negotiations, these latter nevertheless told them that an exclusive option had previously been agreed upon between Grande and English business man Paul Davidson for a fee of 36 million euros. The negotiations with Zeromax were therefore cancelled and the deal didn't went through.

this is the third part of a five-parts series. the next part will cover benedito leaving the club as a consecuence of the above explained case. you can read the whole series here.

Read the previous parts of this series:
Introducing Benedito (1): The candidate
Introducing Benedito (2): The man, the culé

Former Mallorca president Vicenç Grande (left) and Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

Barcelona wants to tie down Ribery before elections

Catalan sports weekly paper Gol claims that the current Barcelona board wants to avoid at all costs that a presidential candidate in next year's elections can strengthen his bid with the promise of signing some specific players.

The main objective would in that perspective be to find a deal on the transfer of Bayern Munich wing attacker and French international Franck Ribéry (26) before the elections, trying to take advantage of the good relationships between Barcelona president Joan Laporta and his Bayern Munich counterpart Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

A quick transfer of Arsenal midfielder and Spanish international Cesc Fàbregas (22) would at this moment be seen as more complicated.

Read more:
Barcelona wants to sign Cesc before elections
The Rosell Project - Part 2: The Team

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Son of former president denies election involvement

Asked if he would be part of a candidacy for the next presidential elections, Marc Carrasco, son of former Barcelona interim president Raimon Carrasco (1977-1978), denied this rumour in an interview with Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo:

"Nobody has called me."

On Saturday 3 October, Carrasco resigned as a member of Barcelona's social commission, which was made public by him earlier this week through a press release that said: "I've in all honesty thought that I had to leave and that's what I did. I've accepted the honour, the invaluable privilege, to join the club for the same reasons that made me decide to leave."

Speaking to El Mundo Deportivo, Carrasco clarified his statements a little more: "There are internal reasons that lead me to make this decision, something I have been thinking about for months. I leave disappointed because the current club model isn't the same as the one that was defended when I joined the social commission in April of 2004."

Related posts:
Who will be the next president of FC Barcelona?
Introducing Benedito (2): The man, the culé

The Board, 6-7 Years Later (1) : Five directors left

When comparing the composition of the current board (18 members) with the composition of the board at the time Joan Laporta became president in 2003 (15 members), it shows that few directors have lasted.

From the original board of 2003, only five members are still in office: president Joan Laporta, vice-president Alfons Godall and directors Alfons Castro, Josep Cubells and Jaume Ferrer (now vice-president).

Board June 2003

Joan Laporta

Albert Vicens
Sandro Rosell
Ferran Soriano
Alfons Godall
Marc Ingla

Josep Maria Bartomeu
Xavier Cambra
Alfons Castro
Josep Cubells
Jaume Ferrer
Jordi Moix
Jordi Monés
Toni Rovira
Clàudia Vives-Fierro

Board October 2009

Joan Laporta

Alfons Godall
Jaume Ferrer
Joan Boix
Joan Franquesa
Rafael Yuste

Alfons Castro
Josep Cubells
Albert Perrin
Jacint Borràs
Josep Anton Colomer
Maria Elena Fort
Jordi Torrent
Patrick Auset
Xavier Bagués
Josep-Ignasi Macià
Magda Oranich
Xavier Sala i Martín

this is the first part of a three-parts series on the composition of fc barcelona’s board of directors since joan laporta became president. the next part will cover all the movements over the past years. read the whole series here.

Read more:
Laporta could step down before elections
Bassat will not run a third time

Poll result: Will Rosell be the next president?

Do you think that Sandro Rosell will be the next president of Barça?

Yes 57%
No 43%

total votes: 17176
start date poll: 6 october 2009
source: el mundo deportivo

check more election poll results here

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Introducing Benedito (2): The man, the culé

Earlier this month, Agustí Benedito announced his intention to take part in next year's elections for president of FC Barcelona. This blog will this week give an introduction on the pre-candidate.

The man
Agustí Benedito i Benet is a 45 years old Catalan business man and father of four children.

After his law studies at Barcelona University and further specialization courses at the General Motors Institute in Michigan (United States) and the ESADE Business School in Barcelona, he joined his family's company that was involved in the car industry. After the sale of the company in 2002, Benedito became a consultant for family companies.

The culé

In 1997, Benedito was – together with current Barcelona president Joan Laporta - a member of the candidacy of Àngel Fernández, who lost the elections in July against sitting president Josep Lluís Núñez.

Later that year, Benedito was a founding member of the opposition group Elefant Blau (Blue Elephant), that forced a vote of no confidence again Barcelona president Núñez. The vote was held in March 1998 but didn't succeed.

In the 2000 elections, Elefant Blau, of which Laporta was one of the leaders, supported the candidacy of Lluís Bassat, who was defeated by then Barcelona vice-president Joan Gaspart (read more here).

After Elefant Blau disappeared, Benedito helped Joan Laporta to set up his 2003 bid for the presidency. Since Laporta was chosen president in 2003, Benedito has been a member of the club's sporting and social commissions.

Earlier this year, Benedito resigned from his post because of his disagreement with some of the actions of Laporta, especially the president's involvement in a possible sale of Spanish football club Mallorca to Uzbek investors (read more in the third part of this series).

this is the second part of a four-parts series. the next part will cover the reasons for benedito leaving the club earlier this year. you can read the whole series here.

Read the first part of this series:
Introducing Benedito (1): The candidate

picture: germán rodríguez rosas
sources:, wikipedia and own research

Cartoon 14: Another spying scandal looming

* One of the investigated vice-presidents could be part of the candidacy of Sandro *

I want to know who it is... You can hire the spies again!

(click the cartoon to enlarge)

by kap

el mundo deportivo

check more election cartoons here

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bassat will not run a third time

Catalan advertising agent Lluís Bassat (68) will not take part in next year's elections for president of FC Barcelona. Bassat was the runner-up in the elections of 2000 and 2003, being defeated by first Joan Gaspart (55% vs 43%) and then Joan Laporta (53% vs 32%).

Speaking to Catalan radio station COM Ràdio, Bassat said in May of 2008 that he would not run a third time in 2010: "I've learnt a lot and now I understand that football is not a business like the other ones. It's very different. Now the time has come for somebody else to try. Being the president of Barcelona asks a lot of a person. It's also a job that is not paid.

When I ran for president, I tried to look for a solution for my club and my city because both had a problem at that time. I'm very grateful to those who believed in my project and voted for me. If I would have won, this would have changed my life radically but now I feel very happy about my way of life."

Bassat has since then repeated several times that he will not be among the presidential candidates when the election process will be launched next year.

Read more:
Who will be the next president of FC Barcelona?

Lluís Bassat presenting Josep Guardiola as his candidacy's sports director in 2003.

Plan for internet voting rejected

On 25 January 2009, Barcelona president Joan Laporta announced in an interview with the club's official television channel Barça TV that the club was looking into the option of allowing club members to vote through the internet in the presidential elections next year:

"We are examining some changes to the club's by-laws and I'm particularly looking forward to the vote through the internet. We are working to make it possible. I think the vote through the internet, besides at the same time keeping the option of going to vote in person at the club, would stimulate the participation of the socis all around the world.

The option of internet voting would adapt the election process to the youngest club members and to those who are living in other places of the world. And when I was speaking to some older club members the other day, one of them told me that it would make it easier for the older people to take part in the vote. Moreover, it would give us a modern image."

On 4 June, Laporta repeated his wish to introduce internet voting in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC 1: "It would be very important that people could vote through the internet because this would mean a new stimulus for the modernization of the club. Several technical tests are being carried out and I hope it will be possible for the next presidential elections."

A few weeks later, the option of internet voting was nevertheless definitely off the table when the club officially announced on 28 July the changes the board would propose to the General Assembly on 19 August. The internet vote wasn't among the proposals on which the Assembly would have to vote.

Several media claimed that president Laporta had to give up the plan because of the opposition he faced by both people from the entourage of the club and board members, who all had doubts on the reliability of internet voting. Catalan sports paper Sport reported that Laporta had lost the week before a board vote with the majority of the directors rejecting that change of the by-laws.

At a press conference, board secretary Josep Cubells confirmed that the possibility of voting by internet was ruled out because of the lack of reliability: "It's true that we have been examining the option of internet voting for the next presidential elections. But after analyzing the systems that are available on the market right now, we rejected the option because we didn't find a system that could give us full guarantees."

Read more:
Pre-candidates need to collect signatures

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Rosell Project - Part 4: The Board (2)

In June 2008, former Barcelona sports vice-president Sandro Rosell announced at a press conference that he would take part in the next presidential elections. Last month, he confirmed in an interview with Catalan radio station Ràdio Barcelona that nothing had changed since that announcement.

Despite the fact that Rosell reportedly decided not to start campaigning before the end of this year (and maybe not even before the elections are called), he would be close to finishing his program. Several media have in the past weeks reported on his project. This blog will give an overview of what has been published so far.

After a long selection process, Rosell would be almost ready with the composition of what will be his board if he would become the next president of FC Barcelona. Rosell might still be looking for a strong figure who could become economic vice-president. Besides the nine names that will almost certainly be part of Rosell's board (read more here), several other people are rumoured to be among the candidates. An overview.


Rosell would have selected three women who he wants as director in his board. At least two of them will effectively be part of his candidacy. Pilar Guinovart, head of external relations of the guild of restaurant owners of Barcelona, would become the board member responsible for the social area.

Current vice-president:

Catalan television channel TV3 claimed that it's not excluded that one of the four Barcelona vice-presidents that have been involved in the Barcagate case could join Rosell. People of Rosell's entourage reportedly nevertheless told Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo that this option has almost become impossible because none of them has resigned after they discovered the investigations.

Former vice-president:

Several media claim that Gabriel Masfurroll, chairman and managing director of USP Hospitals, a network of private hospitals in Spain, southern Europe and Morocco, could be part of Rosell's candidacy. Masfurroll is a former Barcelona board member under Josep Lluís Núñez and a presidential candidate in 2000. He was vice-president under Joan Gaspart until he resigned in December 2002.

One year ago, Masfurroll said in an interview with Spanish news site that he already agreed with Sandro Rosell on a possible partnership in the coming elections shortly after the latter left the board in 2005: "If Sandro wants me to join him, I will be delighted to do so. And if not, I will stay at home, no hard feelings. I would have liked to run for president myself, but I came to the conclusion that it's not worth it."

On Thursday 8 October, Rosell assisted the presentation of a new book written by Masfurroll. Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez was also present. Asked about the upcoming elections, Rosell didn't want to enter the questions of the journalists: "Wait and see."

The media nevertheless don't seem able to agree on what Masfurroll's role might be: he could become board member, he could become involved in the club's foundation or he could play no role at all. Talks between Rosell and Masfurroll would still be ongoing and one media even reports that Masfurroll could join another candidate or not take part in the elections, hoping the winner would then offer him a post afterwards.

Other possible board members:

- Ricardo Rodrigo, chairman of the RBA Group, a communication company that, among other things, publishes popular magazines like 'Lecturas' and 'Semana', as well as the Spanish edition of 'National Geographic'.

- Roger Granados, lawyer.

- Josep Maria Prat, director of classical music promotor Ibercamera.

- Marc Ros, general director of marketing and advertising agency

- José Daurella, chairman of bottling company Cobega, that is authorized to manufacture and sell products of the Coca-Cola Company in large areas of Spain.

- Jordi Mestre, chairman of the Expo Group, a chain of Spanish hotels and resorts, among which the Princesa Sofia hotel close to the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona.

- Jordi Calsamiglia, lawyer specialized in sports law.

- Josep Ramón Vidal, architect.

this is the fourth and last part of this series. you can read the whole series here.

Read the previous parts:
The Rosell Project - Part 1: The Club
The Rosell Project - Part 2: The Team
The Rosell Project - Part 3: The Board (1)

Pilar Guinovart

Gabriel Masfurroll

Ricardo Rodrigo

Roger Granados

Josep Maria Prat

Marc Ros

sources for this series:
el mundo deportivo, sport, el 9 esportiu, as, gol,, pelikano, britcorner, intereconomía tv, tv3, rac 1, ràdio barcelona, radio marca, catalunya ràdio and own research

Boix: "Many directors qualified to be president"

Barcelona economic vice-president Joan Boix gave in August an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport in which he talked about the upcoming elections.

Next year there will be elections. Does this board of directors deserves to win at the ballot box and to keep on governing FC Barcelona for six more years?
Yes, because of what already has been explained, the excellent results in all areas. I will fight for this model to have continuity. If the current board can stay united and if we are able to propose the club members an attractive project, I think we might deserve their confidence.

With one united continuity candidacy...
Without any doubt. In the board, there are a lot of directors who are qualified to be the next president of FC Barcelona.

Joan Boix?

Related articles:
Laporta: "Sala as president would be an honour"
Who will be the next president of FC Barcelona?

interview: toni frieros and tomàs andreu

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Most read this week

Introducing Benedito (1): The candidate

Earlier this month, Catalan business man Agustí Benedito announced his intention to take part in next year's elections for president of FC Barcelona. This blog will give an introduction on the pre-candidate in the coming week.

Benedito, who had resigned from his post at the club in March of this year (read more in the third part of this series), would already have been preparing his candidacy for months and since the summer, there had been speculation about his plans.

During the second half of the month of September, several media claimed that Benedito had made the decision to be a candidate. On 25 September, Catalan weekly paper El Triangle reported that an announcement would follow soon.

On Thursday 8 October, Benedito then came with the official confirmation that he would run for president. Although he said the announcement was made to avoid further speculation, it seems clear that Benedito was trying to gain some momentum in the preparation of his candidacy.

Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu claims that Benedito, who wouldn't have plans to link up with another candidate, is also already keeping an eye on the following presidential elections, that will in theory be held in 2016.

His ideas
So far, Benedito has only given a short preview of his plans, while declaring he will present his full project when the election process wil officially be launched.

Everyone seems nevertheless to agree that the core of his campaign will be the recovery of the values of the "Elefant Blau" (
Blue Elephant), the opposition group of which Benedito was one of the founders in the late 1990s, alongside -among others- current Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

Benedito demonstrated this by already revealing the key words of his campaign in his letter to Spanish news agency EFE: "Transparency, participation of the club members, good governance and honesty".

He added that his team would lead the club "from a full but non-political catalanism, always looking for the support and the involvement of the many Barcelona fans in and outside Catalonia."

His people
Benedito, who is still looking for support, defined the people he's working with as follows: "I will finalize my project together with a diligent, pluralistic and open-minded team - people with proven management skills in business, sports and social areas - because I understand the social importance of Barça and because I know the values that an entity like this needs to be able to transmit: effort, will to improve and responsibility."

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claimed already last month that Benedito is supported by a group of around 400 people and that he is planning to contact the Catalan political parties shortly to present them his project. Catalan sports paper Sport reports that Benedito has been surrounding himself with a group of ambitious young businessmen.

Barcelona opposition site Pelikano claims that Benedito contacted this summer former "Elefant Blau" members like Aymerich, Carrasco, Canal, Geli, Sola, Salinas, Castellet, Latorre or Bonet, to ask them if they were interested in joining him in this new project.

this is the first part of a four-parts series. the next part will cover benedito's personal, professional and blaugrana background. you can read the whole series here.

Read more:
Agusti Benedito to run for president
Who will be the next president of FC Barcelona?

picture: germán rodríguez rosas