Saturday, November 7, 2009

Poll result: What do you think about Benedito?

What does the candidacy of Agustí Benedito to become president of Barça evoke for you?

Another alternative: 15%
Opposition to the current model: 5%
Hidden board candidacy: 7%
Elefant Blau: 8%
I don't know him: 63%
Other things: 3%

total votes: 2289
start date poll: 8 october 2009
source: el mundo deportivo

check more election poll results here

picture: germán rodríguez rosas

Rosell organizing press dinners

After he held the first meetings with representatives of Barcelona's fan clubs in the beginning of October (read more here), Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell has in the past weeks been meeting with media representatives.

Journalist Alex Santos confirms on his blog that he and his colleagues of Spanish news agency EFE were a couple of weeks ago invited to meet with Rosell at his home. Santos explains that the gathering was more about getting to know each other and that Rosell didn't talk a lot about his program or his team.

Some of the closest collaborators of the former sports vice-president reportedly assisted the meeting, among which former Barcelona board member Josep Maria Bartomeu (read more here) and former Barcelona head of external relations Laura Alsina, who will act as press officer of Rosell's campaign.

It was also confirmed to this blog that Rosell and Bartomeu met last Monday in Rosell's offices with journalists of Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo, among which Cristina Cubero, one of the main writers of the paper. A few days before, Rosell would have had a dinner with journalists of Catalan newspaper El Periódico at the Via Veneto restaurant in Barcelona.

Meetings between people involved in the elections and the press seem to be a usual practice in Barcelona. Catalan sports paper Sport claimed last summer that Barcelona president Joan Laporta was having weekly dinners with journalists in the Da Greco and Raco d'en Cesc restaurants in Barcelona, while Alex Santos reports that presidential candidate Agustí Benedito is also having contacts with journalists.

Read more:
Rosell working on ethical code
The Rosell Project - Part 1: The Club

Bassat: "Laporta invented Beckham transfer"

Asked about his previous participations in the elections for president of FC Barcelona (read more here), Catalan businessman and twice runner-up in the elections Lluís Bassat said last month in an interview with Spanish television channel La Sexta that he lost the 2003 elections because Laporta lied about the transfer of then Manchester United player David Beckham:

"To take part in the elections has been a wonderful experience. When Barça went through a bad time, a group of friends asked me to lead a candidacy like I had led my companies. I didn't win the elections in 2000 and 2003 and I'm sure that was because I didn't want to lie about a transfer of a big player.

In a poll ten days before the last elections, Joan Laporta had 9 per cent of the votes while I had 42 per cent. And then they invented the transfer of Beckham, of which I knew it wasn't true because I knew he had already signed for Real Madrid.

A journalist and friend told me to say that I would sign Henry but I told him that I preferred to lose the elections rather than to lose my dignity. I lost the elections and I don't have any regrets about the way I have acted."

Read more:
Bassat will not run a third time

Friday, November 6, 2009

Board reshuffle coming up next week

Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio claims that Barcelona president Joan Laporta is preparing several changes in the board of the directors of FC Barcelona.

The decision has reportedly been made and would be officially announced next Friday after a board meeting in the French city of Perpinyà. Catalan sports papers El Mundo Deportivo and Sport have confirmed the news.

Ahead of next year's elections, Laporta would mainly want to give more responsibilities to first vice-president Alfons Godall and to Xavier Sala i Martín, directors close to the president. Vice-presidents Jaume Ferrer
(picture, on the right) and Joan Franquesa would lose power (read more here).

Ferrer would lose "marketing" and "media" to vice-president Joan Boix and would only keep the responsibility on the minor professional sections of the club (not the football and basketball sections). Franquesa would lose "assets administration" to Boix and "institutional matters" to Godall and would become responsible for the club's foundation. Sala i Martín is believed to replace Boix as treasurer.

Speaking at a press conference after today's 'Comisión Delegada', a meeting of the main directors and executives of the club, Barcelona chief executive Joan Oliver confirmed there was a reshuffle coming up: "The president has announced that there will be changes. Some tasks will be redistributed. The directors are now holding talks to see how we will reorganize things but as long as everything isn't finalized, we won't say anything."

Read more:
Laporta: "Sala as president would be an honour"
Barcagate (10) - The fallout
Godall: "Being president would be a dream"

Rosell writing second book

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell is planning a new book.

Rosell, who is said to be preparing his candidacy in silence, would have almost finalized his team of directors and keeps on talking with Barcelona club members to know more about their wishes. The latter has been confirmed to this blog by people involved in those talks.

The new book of Rosell would be published around the time of the day of Sant Jordi, a Catalan holiday - similar to Valentine's Day - when the girl receives a rose and the boy receives a book, on 23 April. In Rosell's strategy it would be seen an appetizer ahead of the election campaign.

The book would be a rare joint effort by RBA and Planeta, two of Spain's biggest publishing houses. This blog reported last month that Ricardo Rodrigo, chairman of the RBA Group, is among the people rumoured to possibly be part of Rosell's board (read more

In April of the year 2006, less than one year after he left the club (read more here), Rosell released a first book entitled "Benvingut al món real" (Welcome to the real world), a management and sports marketing book that includes the story of his time as Barcelona sports vice-president from June 2003 to June 2005.

Read more:
Rosell worried about 'rich kid' image
Poll result: Will Rosell be the next president?
Rosell working on ethical code

The Board, 6-7 Years Later (3) : 32 directors

Since Joan Laporta became president of FC Barcelona, 32 people have been a member of the board of directors. An overview.

Joan Laporta (jun 2003 - ...)
Albert Vicens (jun 2003 - jul 2008)
Sandro Rosell (jun 2003 - jun 2005)
Ferran Soriano (jun 2003 - jul 2008)

Alfons Godall (jun 2003 - ...)
Marc Ingla (jun 2003 - jul 2008)
Josep Maria Bartomeu (jun 2003 - jun 2005)
Xavier Cambra (jun 2003 - jul 2008)

Alfons Castro (jun 2003 - ...)
Josep Cubells (jun 2003 - ...)
Jaume Ferrer (jun 2003 - ...)
Jordi Moix (jun 2003 - jun 2005)

Jordi Monés (jun 2003 - may 2005)
Toni Rovira (jun 2003 - jul 2008)
Clàudia Vives-Fierro (jun 2003 - jul 2008)
Javier Faus (jul 2003 - jun 2005)

Alejandro Echevarría (feb 2004 - oct 2005)
Joan Boix (jul 2005 - ...)
Joan Franquesa (jul 2005 - nov 2009)
Rafael Yuste (nov 2005 - ...)

Albert Perrín (nov 2005 - ...)
Evarist Murtra (dec 2005 - jul 2008)
Josep Lluís Vilaseca (dec 2005 - jul 2008)
Jacint Borràs (oct 2007 - ...)

Josep Antonio Colomer (jul 2008 - ...)
Jordi Torrent (jul 2008 - ...)
Maria Elena Fort (jul 2008 - ...)
Patrick Auset (aug 2008 - ...)

Xavier Bagués (aug 2008 - ...)
Josep-Ignasi Macià (mar 2009 - ...)
Xavier Sala i Martín (apr 2009 - ...)
Magda Oranich (apr 2009 - ...)

this is the last part of a three-parts series on the composition of fc barcelona's board of directors since joan laporta became president. read the whole series here.

Read the previous part of the series:
The Board, 6-7 Years Later (1) : Five directors left
The Board, 6-7 Years Later (2) : The movements

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Introducing Benedito (5) : The presentation video

Last 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.

Above, you find a subtitled version of the video Benedito made public when he announced he would run for president. If you prefer to read the text, it goes as follows:

"I'm 45 years old, I have four children. Lately, some media reports have speculated about the possibility that I could head a candidacy for the presidency of FC Barcelona. This is to confirm that this is true.

For a while now, a group of club members is working with a lot of energy, excitement, motivation and conviction to be able to present the fans another alternative in the upcoming elections that will be held next year and to shape a candidacy for the presidency of Barça.

Not everybody knows me or my link with Barça. I can tell you that already in 1997 I was part of the candidacy of Angel Fernández who faced president Núñez. Then later I actively took part, together with others, in “L'Elefant Blau” that presented a vote of no confidence against president Núñez.

I also took part in the elections of 2000, when Joan Gaspart faced Lluís Bassat, and ultimately in the elections that were won by Joan Laporta on 15 June 2003. Since then I have been helping the club by conducting executive tasks, as member or director of the Sports Commission of the club and of the Social Commission, especially taking care of everything related to the professional sections of Barça.

I don't know if Joan Laporta is the best president in the history of Barça, but he sure is the president of the best Barça in history and so he did some great things, but he also did some things that were not so good. We will take the good part with us and we'll strenghten it, and what he - or they - didn't achieve, there we will continue, go on until the end.

This is an initiative that doesn't have any sense if it's not the result of the most possible people of FC Barcelona. It's important, it's crucial, it's really needed that all those who didn't do anything, but who would want, that you participate in this, that you take part. I repeat that by listening to you, we will definitely shape our final project.

I want to insist: it's crucial, it's very important, that we want that people who have concerns and who want to participate, that they do so. You would help us a lot. I might be insisting a lot but I would be very pleased to be able to count on all of you, all of those who want to participate."

this is the last part of a five-parts series. 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
Introducing Benedito (3) : The affair too much
Introducing Benedito (4) : The affair too much (2)

Former board member willing to join Soriano

Speaking to Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo at the opening of an exposition of her work, former Barcelona board member and artist Clàudia Vives-Fierro has said she would like very much to be part of the next board of directors:

"I would be delighted to return to the club. I have the capacity of being able to easily forget the bad memories and to only keep the good ones. I will surely participate in one way or another in the upcoming elections process. I will give my opinion, always in a respectful way, and if I can identify with a candidate and help him, I might be part of his project."

El Mundo Deportivo claims that Vives-Fierro will join former Barcelona economic vice-president Ferran Soriano if the latter would decide to run for president.

Clàudia Vives-Fierro, who is the wife of former Barcelona sports vice-president Marc Ingla, was a board member from June 2003, when current president Joan Laporta took office, until July 2008, when she left with seven other directors after the vote of no confidence (read more

Related posts:
Soriano: "I'm not part of any candidacy for now"
The Board, 6-7 Years Later (2) : The movements

Most read this month

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Poll Result: Third presidential term for Laporta?

If a third term was possible,
would you like Joan Laporta to continue as president of FC Barcelona?

Yes 83%
No 17%
Don't know 0%

start date poll: 31 october 2009
source: this blog

check more election poll results here

Rosell working on ethical code

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo reports that the Consell Senior Blaugrana (Senior Blaugrana Council) will meet for the first time next Thursday at the Princesa Sofía hotel in Barcelona.

The council was created by Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell after several contacts with veteran club members (read more here) and should lay the basis for a new ethical club code with the goal of checking if all the actions by board members or club executives are fully justified.

This council should ultimately become an official club organ, as are now for example the club's Economic Commission and the Overseers Committee. Rosell, who plans to assist next week's meeting together with some of his closest collaborators, would therefore propose to change the club's by-laws if he gets elected president.

Read more:
Rosell worried about 'rich kid' image
The Rosell Project - Part 1: The Club

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Soriano: "I'm not part of any candidacy for now"

Asked about his rumoured participation in next year's presidential elections (read more here), former Barcelona economic vice-president and current chairman of Spanish airline Spanair Ferran Soriano has said in an interview with Catalan newspaper Avuí that he didn't yet decide what his role will be:

"At this moment, Spanair doesn't leave me any time to think about Barça, nor am I already part of any candidacy. But when the election process starts, I will try to contribute to a constructive debate because an internal battle would certainly damage the club."

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

The Board, 6-7 Years Later (2) : The movements

Since Joan Laporta became president of FC Barcelona, the composition of the board of directors has been changing permanently. An overview.

On 22 June 2003, one week after the elections, a new Barcelona board takes office. President Joan Laporta leads a group of 15 directors that include 5 vice-presidents (Albert Vicens, Sandro Rosell, Ferran Soriano, Alfons Godall and Marc Ingla) and 9 directors (Josep Maria Bartomeu, Xavier Cambra, Alfons Castro, Josep Cubells, Jaume Ferrer, Jordi Moix, Jordi Monés, Toni Rovira and Clàudia Vives-Fierro).

One month later, on 22 July, Javier Faus joins the board.

On 24 February, Laporta's brother-in-law Alejandro Echevarría is appointed as director.

On 31 May 2005, Jordi Monés resigns because of the presidentialist attitude of Laporta. He is followed by Josep Maria Bartomeu, Sandro Rosell and Jordi Moix on 2 June. It is the outcome of a conflict that had existed for more than a year. Javier Faus, who was believed to be close to the other four, leaves the board on 27 June.

On 12 July, Joan Boix and Joan Franquesa become members of the board. That way the board again consists of 14 members, the minimum number of directors the club should have according to the club's by-laws.

On 20 October, Alejandro Echevarría leaves the club. Although Laporta had supported his brother-in-law after the accusations that the latter was a member of a foundation dedicated to the life and works of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, Echevarría resigned because of the media pressure.

On 29 November, Rafael Yuste and Albert Perrín become members of the board, followed, on 13 december, by Evarist Murtra and Josep Lluís Vilaseca.


On 5 October, Jacint Borràs joins the board.

On 27 November, Jaume Ferrer is appointed as vice-president.

On 10 July, Albert Vicens, Ferran Soriano, Marc Ingla, Xavier Cambra, Toni Rovira, Clàudia Vives-Fierro, Josep Lluís Vilaseca and Evarist Murtra resign because they don"t agree with the reaction of Laporta after the vote of no confidence a few days earlier.

On 28 July, Josep Antonio Colomer, Jordi Torrent and Maria Elena Fort are chosen as new board members. Joan Boix, Joan Franquesa and Rafael Yuste are appointed as vice-presidents.

On 13 August, Patrick Auset and Xavier Bagués join the board.

On 27 March, Josep-Ignasi Macià is appointed as new director, followed by Xavier Sala i Martín and Magda Oranich on 23 April.

this is the second 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 list all board members over the past years. read the whole series here.

Read the first part of the series:
The Board, 6-7 Years Later (1) : Five directors left

Read more:
Laporta could step down before elections

Board members (from left to right) Marc Ingla, Toni Rovira, Ferran Soriano, Claudià Vives-Fierro, Josep Lluís Vilaseca, Evarist Murtra and Xavier Cambra, listening to the resignation speech by Albert Vicens at the press room of the Camp Nou on 10 july 2009.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Former vice-president hints at Rosell partnership

Asked about his links with Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell (read more here), former Barcelona vice-president Gabriel Masfurroll has suggested today in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC 1 that he will be part of the candidacy of Rosell in the upcoming elections for president of Barcelona:

"In principle I could confirm that it's possible that I will be part of his candidacy, but Sandro is the one who has to say this. The moment will come in which he will present his candidacy and give the names.

I can confirm that I have a friendship relation with Sandro Rosell, he's someone I like and respect. We have talked about things but nothing should be said now. Because that would be starting the election campaign, something that should only happen when the elections are called. Now we have to support the team."

Gabriel Masfurroll is the chairman and managing director of USP Hospitals, a network of private hospitals in Spain, southern Europe and Morocco. He is a former Barcelona board member under Josep Lluís Núñez and was a presidential candidate in 2000. He was vice-president under Joan Gaspart until he resigned in December 2002.

Read more:
The Rosell Project - Part 4: The Board (2)
Candidates compete for future board members

Candidates compete for future board members

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona director Xavier Sala i Martín recently offered a club member to be part of his candidacy without knowing the person in question already joined the project of former Barcelona sports vice-president Sandro Rosell.

The "elder new technologies entrepreneur with a captivating profile", as the aforementioned person is described by the paper, felt in a way flattered by the proposal made by Sala i Martín but nevertheless kindly rejected the offer.

This story would be one more concrete example of how presidential candidates are competing to add valuable people to their team. Spanish television channel Intereconomía TV for example reported that several candidates sounded out Jordi Cardoner Casaus (picture, on the left), the grandson of former Barcelona vice-president Nicolau Casaus. Cardoner would in the end have chosen to join Rosell (read more here).

And while former Barcelona vice-president Gabriel Masfurroll would according to almost all media also join Rosell, Barcelona opposition site Pelikano claims that Masfurroll is still considering his participation in the elections but would certainly not be part of Rosell's candidacy (read more here).

With the possibility of two candidacies coming from the current board, one lead by Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall (and/or Sala i Martín), and the other by Barcelona marketing vice-president Jaume Ferrer (read more here), there would also be an internal battle ongoing within the board to attract the most board members.

All media have in the past weeks drawn up their own lists, that all have their small differences but all agree that there are still a few directors left who are in doubt. Spanish newspaper El País claims that up to five board members still didn't make a decision on who they would support: Josep Cubells, Magda Oranich, Joan Boix, Maria Elena Fort and Patrick Auset

Read more:
The Rosell Project - Part 4: The Board (2)
Son of former president denies election involvement

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Most read this week

Introducing Benedito (4) : The affair too much (2)

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.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday 18 February 2009, Barcelona president Joan Laporta talked about his involvement in an attempt to sell Spanish footbal club Mallorca, which was revealed one day earlier by Spanish newspaper El Mundo:

"It's a professional matter. The company Binipuntiró, the main shareholder of Real Mallorca, has financial problems and they contacted my office to help them with the sale. We looked around and found a client who was interested and who made an offer on the condition of an audit of the entity.

It became clear that what the seller asked for the shares was a price that, according to our client, wasn't correct, so the deal didn't go through. Since this was a professional assignment, it's normal that my office receives a fee for the legal services that were provided.

Our law firm always examines if the cases we are offered don't interfere with my function as president of FC Barcelona but in this case it was decided that there was no incompatibility at all, so the conduct of my office was lawful, legal and professional.

The way the report was published suggests that my firm has tried to hide its involvement but there are legal and public documents about this since the seller had insolvency problems. We haven't tried to hide anything. But some state media are particularly fond of me.

I just try to do my job and I don't care about others trying to prevent me from doing that. I want to make a living out of my job, in an honest and responsible way, which is what I did in this case."

Two weeks later, Laporta repeated his defense in an interview with Spanish business paper Expansión: "Being the president of Barça, gives you a lot of possibilities to mix with people but not to do business.

But where's the line? In my case, I have a law firm and I assist companies, like Mallorca, that had financial problems and asked me to look for a buyer. I found one in Uzbekistan but the operation didn't go through."

Despite the explanations of Laporta, the involvement of Laporta was the reason that led Agustí Benedito to resign as member of the club's social commission on Thursday 26 February.

In a letter to the president, quoted by former Barcelona's head of communication Jordi Badia on his blog, Benedito explained the reasons for his decision: "This news has been the biggest disappointment in my life. Over the years, I have maintained my beliefs and they now prevent me from continuing with you. Despite the fact that this wasn't easy, I have been loyal until the end."

Speaking to Spanish news agency EFE, Benedito said: "What has happened is against the spirit with which 'El Elefant Blau' was founded (read more here). I belonged to the core of this movement that fought for a different Barça.

I've always stood by the side of Joan Laporta, even at the time of the vote of no confidence last summer, and I've defended him with everything I had. But now I feel that this attempt of trying to obtain a fee for the sale of Mallorca has nothing to do with the Laporta from a few years ago."

EFE claimed that Benedito had been close to be appointed as director of the club around the time of his exit but that the appointment didn't went through in the end. Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo had already reported in September 2008 that Benedito was rumoured to be a candidate to join the board soon.

Club sources were quoted by EFE as saying that they thought this had been the main reason for his decision, something that Benedito denied to the agency and in an interview with Catalan newspaper Avuí one week later:

"Everybody who knows me, knows that this is ridiculous. This just indicates they have no arguments to defend what cannot be defended. I've voluntarily worked for the club for many years.

I know that I have been rumoured to become a director, several board members told me they wanted me to join, but the president never spoke about it with me. And I thank him for not having made me a director because this would otherwise have been an even more difficult situation for me.

I have resigned because I think that the president of Barça has mislead the club members when he said last summer that he and no one from his board did business in the world of football.

And by doing that he didn't only betray a leading principle of the 'Elefant Blau' but also of our way of acting for many years. In my view, it's not ethical for a president to enrich himself in such a way. It's clear he betrayed those principles and that he lied. That's why I resign."

this is the fourth part of a five-parts series. the next part will be the video in which benedito presents himself as presidential candidate. 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
Introducing Benedito (3) : The affair too much

picture: germán rodríguez rosas