Saturday, November 14, 2009

Laporta: "I believe in Sala i Martin"

Asked if Barcelona director Xavier Sala i Martín (picture, centre) could be a candidate to succeed him next year, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has praised the Catalan university professor in economics during an interview with Spanish television channel TVE earlier this week, while he also didn't exclude the option of more than one board candidate:

"He's a man of great and acknowledged qualities. He's a big Barcelona fan. I like him a lot, but he'll hear the decision I will make later. I believe in him because he has been one of the key men by supervising the project and he's a real football fan. It's an honour to have people like him in the board. Whoever it will be, what I sure would like is that my successor would have his intellectual abilities.

I think our model has proven to be a valid one because things have gone very well, but the board doesn't have to agree on one continuity candidate. We will give people the freedom to do what they want. That's our style. Sitting around the table and look for a consensus is not our style. It should be a natural process. We must give people the freedom to decide if they want to run or not. When the elections are called, those who want can present a candidacy."

Read more:
Sala i Martin: "I don't know what my role will be"
Laporta: "We'll talk about our candidate in January"

The new board of directors

(click image to enlarge)

Joan Laporta

Alfons Godall

first vice-president, responsible for the social area and spokesperson

Joan Boix
economic vice-president and responsible for the marketing and media area

Jaume Ferrer
vice-president responsible for assets administration and the handball section

Rafael Yuste
sports vice-president

Albert Perrín
vice-president responsible for the institutional area

Josep Cubells
secretary and director responsible for the basketball section

Alfons Castro
director responsible for security issues

Jacint Borràs
president of barcelona atlètic and member of the catalan football federation

Josep Anton Colomer
director of the economic area and responsible for the futsal section

Maria Elena Fort
director of the institutional and assets administration areas

Jordi Torrent
director responsible for the roller hockey section

Xavier Bagués
director of the social area

Patrick Auset
director of the social area

Josep-Ignasi Macià
director of the social area

Magda Oranich
director of the institutional area and responsible for the foundation

Xavier Sala i Martín
director of the economic area and treasurer

Read more:
Albert Perrin appointed as new vice-president

source: el 9 esportiu

Barça, a 'wonderful rarity' - part 2 (by Agustí Benedito)

Barcelona presidential candidate Agustí Benedito published on Monday an opinion piece in Catalan newspaper El Periódico.

If we look at the official data, Barcelona is going through a very good moment: at a sporting level, we are living the most glorious period in history, with a coach, Pep Guardiola, who is loved by everyone and with a team mainly made up of players that were formed at the academy and are admired around the world.

Economically, Barça is one of the leading clubs, which allows it to be competitive in the transfer market when trying to recruit the best players; socially, the growth, with over 170,000 club members and millions of fans around the world, cannot be discussed. And finally, the agreement with UNICEF has given Barça an extraordinary cultural and human dimension.

So there is reason to be proud of being Barcelona fans. And yet, there is a persistent and perceptible murmur, that expresses a kind of discontent and unrest which might seem contradictory to such a positive moment. But there is no contradiction. What happens is that this situation is something superficial and does not serve to fully capture and explain the state of mind of the fans.

This background noise that is heard and that expresses a quite general unrest is the consequence of a growing disaffection, to use a concept that has been used in other domains. At Barça, as in the whole of society, there is a crisis that is not really a crisis of values but that is, above all, a crisis of behaviours, a crisis of responsibilities and a crisis of social participation.

The way to experience the club and to identify ourselves, as members, with the current leadership structure has been seriously upset. This is what we need to consider restoring, it's the task we most urgently have to deal with.

The club members are the owners of the club. In my opinion this is the key element starting from which the existing unrest should be resolved. Barça is a democracy and it is therefore understandable that it suffers the same problems, or at least similar ones, that affecting the western democracies.

It is an unrest caused by the lack of transparency, social participation and representativeness of the governing bodies. The social demands don't find adequate or sufficient ways of expression because the existing ones are out of date or not binding. That's why there is a serious crisis of legitimacy. The legal option is unsatisfactory and has become an excuse rather than an argument.

We need a change of culture. We needed a profound change that promotes a new way of living the daily reality of Barça, we need a club management that is more transparent, more honest and more participatory. And this should be a bottom-up movement. The members should make this happen. It should be a change for the members, yes, but it should above all be a change by the members. In a few months, we will have the chance to do this. So let's go!

this is the second and last part of this opinion piece. you can read the first part here.

Read more:
Agusti Benedito to run for president
Introducing Benedito (five-parts series)

picture: germán rodríguez rosas

The Number: 2.000.000


total amount of money (in euros) Sandro Rosell would spend for his election campaign

Friday, November 13, 2009

Albert Perrin appointed as new vice-president

Speaking at a press conference, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has today announced the details of the changes in the club's board of directors after a board meeting in the French city of Perpinyà.

As part of a board reshuffle after the exit of former Barcelona vice-president Joan Franquesa on Wednesday (read more
here), Barcelona board member Albert Perrín has been appointed as new vice-president of FC Barcelona.

Perrín takes over Franquesa's responsibility on "institutional matters" while "assets admininistration" goes to vice-president Jaume Ferrer. Ferrer loses on the other hand "marketing and media" to vice-president Joan Boix. Board member Xavier Sala i Martín becomes the club's treasurer, replacing Boix in that function.

Read more:
Board reshuffle coming up next week
Vice-president Joan Franquesa resigns

Laporta wants Cesc before end of his term

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona president Joan Laporta thinks that a transfer of Arsenal midfielder and Spanish international Cesc Fàbregas (22) would be the icing on the cake of his term as president of the club.

Laporta, who will leave the club after seven years on 30 June 2010, therefore wants to sign the Catalan midfielder and former Barcelona youth player before the end of his mandate.

The president is reportedly in direct contact with the player and would be waiting for the approval by Arsenal to start the formal negotiations. Barcelona wants to push hard for Cesc and would be willing to pay around 50 million euros for the Catalan.

Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell would be following the events closely. Barcelona's former sports vice-president reportedly contacted the player and his entourage to inform them about his wish that Cesc returns to Barcelona. A deal with Cesc is believed to possibly be decisive in the elections process.

Asked about the new rumours, Barcelona president Joan Laporta was being careful at a press conference: "It's a player who was formed at Barça, who knows our way of playing football and who is liked by the majority of our fans. But we have to respect Arsenal and we cannot comment on a possible transfer. The market isn't opened, these are issues that are being dealt with by the technical department and we shouldn't think about it now."

Read more:
Rosell sounding out Fernando Torres
Barcelona wants to sign Cesc before elections

Former candidate Angel Fernandez will not run

Speaking to Catalan televison channel TV3, Catalan business man and former presidential candidate Angel Fernández has said that he doesn't have any plans to take part in the upcoming elections:

"I will never again be a candidate for the presidency of Barça, nor will I be part of a candidacy or will I take up any responsibility at the club. That chapter is closed.

I'll be a culé for the rest of my life but I will never again work in the frontline. I've already lived that experience, although unfortunately not during the most brilliant period of Barça. I'm responsible for my acts, I was around at a bad moment and I paid for that."

Angel Fernández was in 1997 the challenger of Barcelona president Josep Lluís Núñez. In 2000, he was a pre-candidate but ended up joining Joan Gaspart, in whose board he was vice-president from 2000 to 2002.

In the 1997 elections, Barcelona president Joan Laporta was part of his team, as were several current Barcelona directors like Jacint Borràs and Jordi Torrent, and presidential candidate in the upcoming elections Agustí Benedito.

Read more:
Bassat will not run a third time
Agusti Benedito to run for president

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The resignation letter of vice-president Franquesa

Barcelona vice-president Joan Franquesa resigned from his post yesterday (read more here).

Below you find the translation of the resignation letter he handed yesterday to Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

Dear Jan,

I still recall the moment, in 2003, when you asked me to help and to take part in the project that you had started off after you became president of Barça. In 2005, you offered me to become a director. This fulfilled a dream and made me very happy as a Barcelona fan and son of Barcelona fans.

Today I can proudly say that we have done a very good job. Personally I think that I have contributed decisively to push forward assets issues of great strategic value for FC Barcelona. You know that I have spared no time or effort and that I have given my all.

As we discussed recently, I am unable to continue devoting the time to the club that, according to my sense of responsibility, I think a director of FC Barcelona should. The changes in my personal and professional life now require all my attention. I appreciate that in recent days you have tried to find solutions to allow me to continue at the club. But you know me… At this moment, my priorities are my recently enlarged family and my company.

Therefore, I formally present you my resignation as director of FC Barcelona, which I ask you to pass on to the rest of the colleagues in the Board of Directors.

I am aware that my resignation could be used and misinterpreted. That is why I want to reiterate that I fully share the model that has been in place since 2003, that idea of revolution, with identitarian values... Time has proven us right and I hope that the current model will be continued beyond 2010.

You will always be able to count on my affection, my gratitude and my most sincere friendship.

We will always have Paris, Rome, the 2-6... In a word, the satisfaction of having contributed to the best Barça in history.

Joan Franquesa i Cabanas

Barcelona, November 11th, 2009

* I don't mind at all that you make this letter public, if you think this is convenient.

Read more:
Vice-president Joan Franquesa resigns
Barcagate (6) - The vice-presidents talk (part 2)

Internet entrepreneur joins Rosell candidacy

Spanish business paper Expansión claims, based upon souces close to presidential candidate Sandro Rosell, that internet entrepreneur Dídac Lee has joined the candidacy of Barcelona's former sports vice-president.

Asked about the rumours, Lee confirmed contacts with Rosell to the paper: "There have been talks. We both have an enterprising personality. I have given him advice on how to promote the club through the internet and the new technologies. I would in the future help the club to strengthen their presence in social networks and online meeting places."

Dídac Lee, a 35-years old Catalan-born business man of Chinese-Taiwanese descent, is the CEO of the
Inspirit holding that includes several new technologies and software developing companies. On his personal webpage, Lee says that he's a Barcelona fan and that he hopes to become a board member one day.

Read more:
Who could be on Rosell's board?
Rosell organizing press dinners
Candidates compete for future board members

Could Guardiola be a future president?

Speaking to Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio, Catalan businessman and twice runner-up in the elections for president of FC Barcelona Lluís Bassat (picture, on the right) has said that he is convinced that Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola will become president of the club one day:

"Guardiola was my candidate for sports director when I ran for president and one of my opponents - Laporta not to name him - accused me of not knowing anything about football. And we can discuss on that, but I sure know something about people. And now Guardiola has saved Laporta... Pep has every quality a professional should have. He's intelligent, honest, a hard worker, involved, loyal. So I'm very happy with the sucess he's having.

I sincerely think that Pep one day will be the president of Barça. He has the qualities needed for it. It could well be too early, he's still very young, he has many more things to do first. But I'm sure that his career will be: manager now, sports director one day, sports vice-president another day and then president. And he might become the best president in the history of Barça."

Read more:
Bassat will not run a third time
Bassat: "Laporta invented Beckham transfer"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vice-president Joan Franquesa resigns

Spanish news agency EFE claims that Barcelona vice-president Joan Franquesa has resigned from his post as director of the club. Franquesa, who was responsible for institutional matters and assets administration, reportedly sent a letter of resignation to Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

Barcelona has meanwhile officially confirmed the news and has made public the letter that Franquesa personally handed to president Joan Laporta earlier today and in which he explaines the reasons for his resignation.

In his letter, Franquesa says that he leaves the board because of personal and professional reasons: "As we have discussed recently, I am unable to continue to devote the time to the club that, according to my sense of responsibility, I think is needed for a director of FC Barcelona. The changes in my personal and professional life now require my full attention. [...] At this moment, my priorities are my recently enlarged family and my company."

Joan Franquesa joined Barcelona's board of directors in July of 2005 and was promoted to vice-president in July of 2008. Franquesa was one of the four vice-presidents involved in the Barçagate investigation story earlier this year (read more here) and was rumoured to lose power in an upcoming board reshuffle on Friday (read more here).

check our exclusive overview of all Barcelona board movements since 2003 here

Who is eligible as president?

Article 38 of the club's by-laws, that was changed last August by adding the last condition below, enumerates the conditions to be eligible as president of FC Barcelona:

a) being of legal age and not being legally incapacitated

b) being a club member for at least one year at the moment the elections are called

c) not being suspended as club member at the moment the elections are called

d) not having been linked to FC Barcelona as player, coach, manager or employee during the two years before the elections are called

e) not having been disciplinary punished by the club because of a very serious infringement during the five years before the elections are called

f) having resigned and left before the start of the 6th phase of the election process (presentation of candidacies), in case the aspiring candidate is a member of the Board of Directors or the Interim Committee that has called the election and wants to be re-elected

g) being included in the current electoral roll

h) having legal residence in Catalonia

Read more:
Pre-candidates need to collect signatures
Plan for internet voting rejected

Barça, a 'wonderful rarity' (by Agustí Benedito)

Barcelona presidential candidate Agustí Benedito published on monday an opinion piece in Catalan newspaper El Periódico.

Travelling around the world, when you identify yourself as Catalan and resident of Barcelona, the subject of FC Barcelona immediately arises.

Generally, the speaker expresses his admiration for our club, for the performances and the brilliant game, and if he's a little more interested he soon starts to ask increasingly concrete questions and the concept of "more than a club" comes up.

That motto is vague enough so that it can have many different definitions. We could say that there are almost as many definitions of "more than a club" as Barça has club members. I have always believed that in this diversity lies much of the club's success.

Personally, I define "more than a club" by also explaining that Barça belongs to its members. That it's a democratic club. That it has by-laws that govern the activities of the club and that the club members choose the governing bodies, the president and the directors.

It's an explanation that is easily understood and that causes both curiosity and admiration, because in this commercialized world of football, the fact that the club members of Barça, that the club members of an exemplary elite club are its owners is a wonderful rarity.

this is the first part of this opinion piece. you can read the second part here

Read more:
Agusti Benedito to run for president
Introducing Benedito (five-parts series)

picture: germán rodríguez rosas

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rosell sounding out Fernando Torres

Madrid sports tabloid As claimed last week that Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell has been in contact with Liverpool forward and Spanish international Fernando Torres (25) to sound him out on a possible transfer at the end of the current season.

The relationship between Torres and Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez wouldn't be very good and the striker would therefore be considering to leave the English Premier league club next summer. Torres reportedly prefers to return to Spain and Barcelona could then been his first option.

Spanish radio station Cadena Ser confirmed that Rosell is working on both the transfers of Torres and Arsenal midfielder Cesc (read more here). The talks with Torres would be very advanced and the Spanish striker could sign for Barcelona if Rosell is elected as new president of the club next year.

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

Board changes not inspired by upcoming elections

Speaking to Spanish television channel TVE, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has confirmed that there will be changes in the board (read more here) although he didn't want to elaborate on the issue and said they weren't inspred by next year's presidential elections:

"There will be a redistribution of tasks to be able to govern better. But not all the changes that have been rumoured will actually take place. I don't want to give the details now because I first need to communicate this to my colleagues in the meeting we will have on Friday in Perpinyà. But I can tell you that we won't do anything with an eye on the elections because we need to be focused on governing this club and not on the elections."

Read more:
Board reshuffle coming up next week

Poll Result: Is Laporta a good president?

Do you think that Joan Laporta is a good president of Barça?

Yes 66,7%
No 21,6%
Don't know 11,7%

publishing date poll: 2 november 2009
source: el periódico

check more election poll results here

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sala i Martin: "I don't know what my role will be"

Asked if he will be the continuity candidate of the current board in next year's elections, Barcelona director Xavier Sala i Martín has said in an interview with online newspaper Catalunya Oberta that he sure will play a role:

"I will be part of the continuity candidacy. But I don't know what my role will be. We have achieved the best, the most catalanist, the most global and the most succesful Barça in history. I think we have to continue this and I will contribute to that."

Read more:
Laporta: "Sala as president would be an honour"
Sala i Martin: "I'm not too smart to be president"
Board reshuffle coming up next week

Jaume Guixa will run for president

Catalan university professor Jaume Guixà (51) will take part in next year's elections for president of FC Barcelona.

It has been confirmed to this blog that Guixà has in the past weeks and months been in contact with Barcelona club members in order to prepare his candidacy. University professor of economics Jordi Vilajosana would become the right-hand man of Guixà, who has been hinting at his candidacy on his personal blog a few days ago.

Guixà would have been preparing his candidacy for several years now. Spanish news site El Confidencial already claimed last year that Guixà had contracted a public relations agency that has been working on a campaign strategy and that Guixà was holding meetings to form his team and to raise money to finance his campaign.

Former Barcelona vice-president Jaume Sobrequés, who is believed to be collaborating with Guixa, suggested last month at Catalan television channel Barcelona TV that Guixà is preparing a candidacy: "It won't just be the candidate of Laporta against Rosell. There will be others. There are other people who are working on a candidacy, discretely but in a very serious way. Like university professor Jaume Guixà. It's still premature to talk about it, but things will be made public at the right time."

Jaume Guixà, who would not be willing to team up with other candidates unless he would head the joint candidacy, was a pre-candidate in the elections of 2006 but wasn't able to collect enough signatures of club members to take part in the elections (read more here). He's an architect and lawyer and founded the Penya Mil·lenni, a Barcelona fan club of which he is still the president.

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

Laporta: "We'll talk about our candidate in January"

Barcelona president Joan Laporta gave in August an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport and talked about which board member could succeed him in next year's presidential elections.

When will the current board definitely start the debate about the continuity candidate?
I think that we will have to start dealing with this issue from January of next year. It wouldn't be good to start earlier and to start a kind of election campaign ten months before the elections.

This board deserves that one of its members would be the next president of Barça? There's talk about Sala i Martín and Jaume Ferrer...
It has been proven that this model of governing the club has been good at every level and that is why it deserves to be continued. All the board members have shown a great workrate and consistency. And most of all they have been able to resist in very difficult times.

Read more:
Laporta: "Sala as president would be an honour"
Cartoon 12: Laporta's legacy will dominate elections

interview: toni frieros

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Quote: Sulaiman Al-Fahim

"How did I hear about Real Madrid's 4-0 loss against Alcorcón? Well, I was in Barcelona that Tuesday. I was told at a business dinner, and of course it surprised me. One of the people there was Sandro Rosell, who will run for president of Barcelona. It was a very surprising result that was much commented during the dinner we were having."

United Arab Emirates businessman Sulaiman Al-Fahim,
10% shareholder of English football club Portsmouth and board member of United Arab Emirates private equity company Abu Dhabi United Group that owns English football club Manchester City

Most read this week

Stolen computer could affect elections

Madrid sports tabloid As claims that Barcelona president Joan Laporta is worried that compromising information could be spread in the coming months.

On 25 April 2008, during Barcelona's Champions League semi-final against Manchester United, Laporta's portable computer was stolen from the club's offices at the Camp Nou.

Laporta thinks that part of the data from the computer would now be in the possession of some media that could make the information public little by little, from now until he leaves the club.

Over the past weeks, the president of Barcelona has in fact already been involved in several controversies that linked events from his personal and professional life to his position as Barcelona president.

News reports on some electronic mail messages of Laporta are said to not only be possibly damaging for the president himself but could also affect other members of the current board of directors who would want to take part in next year's elections.

Read more:
Laporta could step down before elections
Poll Result: Third presidential term for Laporta?