Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rosell wants three women in his board

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims - as this blog already reported last month (read more here) - that Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell wants to include three women in his candidacy.

One name that would be confirmed is Pilar Guinovart, assistant of the chairman and head of institutional relations of the guild of restaurant owners of Barcelona.

Read more:
The Rosell Project
First female vice-president for Barcelona?

Sala: "Rosell was always on the wrong side"

Barcelona director and treasurer Xavier Sala i Martín gave two weeks ago an interview to Spanish newspaper El País.

Will you head the list or just be a member of the continuity candidacy?
I don't like the word continuity since Laporta doesn't continue, I would see it more as the continuation of a project that has led to the best results in the history of Barça. Alfons Godall and I have been working on a bid of which I will be part. The role of the individuals hasn't yet been decided. But the club members who like what has been done, will be able to vote for this to continue.

Didn't the spying on the four vice-presidents lead to a very serious crisis within the board?
When I became part of the board [in april 2009], the audit had already taken place. I was told how it happened and that the people who were annoyed had accepted the explanations that were given. And life went on until October, when the press talked about some unrest. Hearing all that, the president asked at a board meeting if the discomfort the press was talking about was real. Nobody said anything, so the matter was settled then.

Godall was the only vice-president that wasn't investigated and you are supposed to be Laporta's favourite in the continuity candidacy. You and chief executive Joan Oliver, as well as Vicent Sanchís, head of Barça TV, are linked because you all belong to the Catalunya Oberta Foundation ["open catalonia foundation", a catalan nationalist and liberal think thank]. You are a machine that produces ideas the president likes and other directors aren't happy with this.
Do you really think that Oliver, Sanchis and I can manipulate Laporta when he decides on his successor? You think that we are going to ask him to give up his friend Godall, the directors who supported him at the time of the vote of no confidence, people he trusts, so that he can appoint me? Please! All the board crises have had one common theme, namely that Laporta does what he wants and that who goes against him eventually cedes or loses. No matter how often they say that the foundation is an evil institution capable of anything, there is one thing that it's not able to do: to brainwash Laporta.

Most of your opponents say the members don't like you.
I would like them to show their polls. To win you must not only look at the rejection you cause. Elections are won by filling your supports with enthusiasm. Very often the one who loses an election didn't make his natural voters thrill.

That's why Laporta seems to prefer you over Godall, someone with a less volcanic profile.
Godall would be an extraordinary candidate. Every time a decision has been made, he was always on the right side: when Txiki was signed, when Rijkaard was maintained, when Eto'o was signed, when Ronaldinho was allowed to leave, when Pep was signed. It is interesting to see that Rosell was on the wrong side when all these major decisions were made, he couldn't stand Txiki, he wanted Scolari, he did not want to sign Eto'o to avoid irritating Florentino Pérez and opted for Adriano, as if the president of Barça has to give in to his counterpart in Madrid.

What do you think about Laporta?
It's the best president in the history of FC Barcelona. An indicator of how well he has done is the deep hatred shown by his opponents, who use the media to discredit him. But despite these campaigns, people like Laporta. And not only the people in the street, but also the ones who have power in the world of sports. One detail: before the arrival of Laporta, all Spanish and European sports bodies were dominated by Madrid. I won't say that they are now dominated by Barça, but they are no longer dominated by Madrid. And that is thanks to Laporta.

Just like Agustí Montal [barcelona president from 1969 to 1977], Laporta has said before: "We're not into politics, we're into our country." Don't you think that he's today doing politics with his statements and gestures?
Tell me which party Laporta has supported? None! This is about supporting Catalania and not about party politics. Montal is right: he hasn't done politics. And if defending your country is doing politics, then both those who speak and those who keep quiet are doing politics.

Read more:
Laporta: "I believe in Sala i Martin"
Poll result: Who should be the board candidate?
Sala still didn't exclude being a candidate

interview: ramón besa

The Quote: Joan Gaspart

"Mister Laporta shouldn't appoint a successor because that won't work. The club members of Barça won't accept a heir."

Joan Gaspart,
former Barcelona president (2000-2003)

read more election quotes here

Friday, November 27, 2009

Guixa to announce candidacy next week

Catalan university professor Jaume Guixà has sent a press release to the media to call a press conference for Wednesday 2 December.

The meeting with the press will take place in the Melià hotel in the centre of Barcelona at 11:15 am local time.

It is generally believed that Guixà will during the press conference officially confirm that he will be a candidate in the presidential elections of next year and that he will give further details about his project and his team.

Guixà has been a pre-candidate in the 2006 elections but wasn't then able to collect the necessary signatures of club members (read more here). This blog already revealed earlier this month that Guixà would take part in next year's elections for president of FC Barcelona (read more here).

Read more:
Jaume Guixa will run for president
Agusti Benedito to run for president
Guixa confirms that he will run for president

sources: efe, sport, el mundo deportivo

Rosell: "Football is all about cycles"

In April of 2006, former Barcelona sports vice-president Sandro Rosell, who had left the club in June of 2005 (read more here), released the book "Benvingut al món real" (Welcome to the real world). During the promotion of the book, Rosell gave an interview to Spanish news agency EFE.

In a passage from your book, you say that Laporta has hinted that he might resign in case the team wins the double.
I don't believe he'll actually do it, but hopefully the team will win the Liga and the Champions League this year.

What is your opinion on when the elections should be called [in 2006, there was a debate on when the next presidential elections should be held: in 2006 or in 2007]?
I don't know when the elections have to be called, but I have spoken with two lawyers and they didn't have any doubt when assuring they should be held this year. Will I run? I'll use the words of a friend of mine with which I also end my book: "Never say never."

But you have lately been offered to lead a candidacy?
About three or four times in the last months, but at this moment I'm not up for it.

After the game in Milan [0-1 win in the first leg of the Champions league semi-finals, goal by Giuly], Barça has already qualified for the final?
They're not there yet, but they have a big chance to go through. I hope we get to the final and I actually have already booked hotel rooms in Paris for the occasion.

Should the squad be seriously remodelled in the coming years?
We of course need some minor changes in the team, because football is all about cycles.

What about the possible transfer of Thierry Henry? He would fit into the team?
On paper Henry would be a great signing but in practice that could be different. If I had to decide on this transfer, I would think a lot about it.

You have a very close friendship with former Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez. Were you surprised that he announced his resignation? What's your opinion about it?
What most struck me was the timing of the announcement. I would have thought he would do it at the end the season, not before that. He thought he had finished his cycle. I surely don't believe the reports about the debts of Madrid, but it's normal that they appear when a president leaves office.

When was the last time you saw Laporta?
We both were at the wedding of Deco.

Now that some time has gone by, do you think you waited too long to leave the club?
No, I had chosen the date, and I was waiting for the league to end to announce it.

Don't you feel jealous about the successes that could be achieved by the team you helped to build?
This team is also mine and I feel proud of and part of the successes of Barça.

How do you spend your time now?
I continue with my business of commercial agents and optimization of sponsorships (BSM) and I'm still involved with a family company (EMTE).

this was the second part of this 2006 interview. you can read the first part here.

Read more:
Rosell writing second book
Poll result: Will Rosell be the next president?
Rosell sounding out Fernando Torres

Poll: Who should be the next Barcelona president?

Who should be the next president of FC Barcelona?

Ferran Soriano 43%
Xavier Sala i Martín 31%
Sandro Rosell 19%
Alfons Godall 7%

total votes: 400
period poll: 13-19 november 2009
source: yoya lo dije

check more election poll results here

Thursday, November 26, 2009

First female vice-president for Barcelona?

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall could appoint Catalan lawyer Magda Oranich as vice-president if he's elected president next year.

Oranich, who is now already part of the club's board of directors, could that way become the first female vice-president in the history of FC Barcelona.

Godall is reportedly working in silence on his candidacy. He would be holding regular meetings with communication consultants Alex Terés and Jordi Segarra, who advised United States president Barack Obama during his election campaign (read more here) and who were recommended to Godall by Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

Barcelona's first vice-president would be carefully outlining his project and is forming his team. Sources of the entourage of Godall told the paper that it's almost certain that he will offer Oranich to become vice-president in his board.

Magda Oranich (64) joined Barcelona's board of directors in April of this year (read more here). After the last board reshuffle two weeks ago, she is now the director responsible for the club's foundation. Oranich has before been the member's ombudswoman of Barcelona from July 2008 until she was appointed as board member.

Read more:
Rosell has selected three women
Godall: "Being president would be a dream"
Laporta meets with Obama campaign advisers

Who can vote in the elections?

Article 38 of the club's by-laws, entitled "Conditions for being an elector", enumerates the conditions to be able to vote in the elections for president of FC Barcelona and reads as follows:

Electors will be all members that satisfy all of the following conditions:

a) To be an adult and not legally incapacitated.

b) To have been a Club member for a minimum of one year.

c) Not to be on suspended membership.

d) To be included in the current Electoral Roll.

Read more:
Who is eligible as president?
Laporta meets with Obama campaign advisers
When will the elections be held?

The Quote: Sebastia Bennasar

"Every president of Barça could be a murder target
because he holds a position of power."

Majorcan writer Sebastià Bennasar,
who released the book "Mateu el president" (Kill the president) that is inspired on Barcelona president Joan Laporta

read more election quotes here

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rosell: "The problem is Laporta himself"

In April of 2006, former Barcelona sports vice-president Sandro Rosell, who had left the club in June of 2005 (read more here), released the book "Benvingut al món real" (Welcome to the real world). During the promotion of the book, Rosell gave an interview to Spanish news agency EFE.

What is "Welcome to the real world"?
It's a reflection aloud. I would like to define it as a summary of my experience, that includes case studies in sports marketing and sports management. The second part, which deals with my time at Barça is, although I don't like to call it that way, the more unpleasant, dirty part.

What remains of the original project of Laporta?
From what it was at the start, only the players. Nothing else. That relation of friendship that Joan Laporta used to talk about in public wasn't real. We got to know each other many years ago because we played together at Sant Andreu, a local football team, which we left because we weren't very good players. After that we lost contact, I went to Brazil and I didn't see him again until we met at a gathering organized by Jordi Moix [barcelona board member from 2003 to 2005, who left the club the same day as rosell].

What was the trigger for your bad relationship?
I think it was all a matter of jealousy, probably caused by my presence in the media.

Laporta has transformed in a potential Núñez [barcelona president from 1978 to 2000]?
Núñez did not fool anyone, he acted the way he was. Laporta on the other hand did mislead people, because in the beginning he promised that his board would be democratic, while that wasn't the case. His way of acting changed little by little until I wasn't able to recognize him anymore. I predict that if he doesn't change, his period at Barça will end in a bad way.

Would the Laporta from the time of the 'Elefant Blau' [barcelona opposition group between 1997 and 2000 that provoked a vote of no confidence against barcelona president josep lluís núñez in 1998] submit a motion of no confidence against the current president of Barcelona?
Without any doubt. Laporta has an internal conflict, the problem is he himself. Sometimes he believes that if you keep on repeating a lie, the time will come when the other will think it's the truth. That is what has happened many times.

What are the president's merits since he took power?
The most positive thing has been his fight against the radicals. And in general I think there's no longer a division between the fans of the club, which was the case when we arrived here.

this was the first part of this 2006 interview. you can read the second and last part of the interview on this blog here, with rosell talking, among other things, about his participation in the elections and the possible transfer of thierry henry.

Read more:
Rosell writing second book
Poll result: Will Rosell be the next president?
Rosell sounding out Fernando Torres

Poll result: Should Laporta intervene in campaign?

Do you think that president Joan Laporta has to intervene in the appointment of his successor as head of the presidency of the club?

No 75%
Don't know 15%
Yes 10%

total votes: 1000
date poll: 11 to 13 november 2009
poll method: telephone inteviews with club members who have the right to vote, 95% certainty
source: diari gol

check more election poll results here

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sala still didn't exclude being a candidate

Catalan newspaper El Periódico claims that Barcelona treasurer and professor of economics at Columbia University Xavier Sala i Martín could still be a candidate in the elections for president of FC Barcelona that will take place next spring.

While Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall is generally seen as the candidate of the list that will be supported by current Barcelona president Joan Laporta, Sala i Martín would have presented himself during private talks and talks with sports-related people in Catalonia as presidential candidate.

The paper therefore thinks that it still isn't excluded that Sala i Martín would replace Godall as head of the list when the elections come closer.

Read more:
Sala: "Godall should be the board candidate"
Poll result: Who should be the board candidate?
Talks on board candidate to start in December

Benedito: "We want a new Barça culture"

Barcelona presidential candidate Agustí Benedito gave an interview to Spanish newspaper El País. Read the previous part of this interview here.

Are you in favour of introducing an ethical code?
I am in favour of it, at least in case it's not being used to gain election profit, like could happen with the new initiative that is supported by Rosell. In general, I think it's an interesting and good idea.

Which is the difference between the project that will be supported by Laporta and the one lead by Rosell?
Laporta has had seven years to do what he wanted to do, so it would be hard to understand he would now start doing things he hasn't done before. Rosell, on the other hand, still hasn't explained his program. In any case, I know him and some of the members of his theoretical candidacy and as far as I see it, his program also won't be similar to what we will present.

Who's in your team?
Members of an independent, different candidacy that is the result of hard work. We want to stimulate the participation of the club members in the life of the club. There are a lot of people involved, people with great human and professional qualities, big Barcelona fans.

The elections will apparently focus more on the club than on the team, especially because the squad of Pep Guardiola has done amazingly well. It's difficult to imagine that a big name like David Beckham would have the same impact as in 2003.
It seems that the sporting issues won't be the centre of the campaign, although I'm not sure about that. In any case, I think that everyone will agree that Guardiola has done an excellent job and that we all will want him to continue for many more years. We sure will run a campaign that will be direct, different, clear, always keeping in mind that the owners of the club are the members.

You won't close a deal with others?
A deal with other candidacies is not part of our model. It wouldn't make sense. We will try to transform the club in a way that, at this moment, I don't see in the other alternatives. Certainly not in the continuity list and the one of Rosell. I don't know what will happen with others who might take part.

You didn't offer yourself to Rosell?
Since I resigned in February until I took the decision to run in July, I have been in contact with a lot of people, with people who now could be part of the candidacy of Rosell, with directors who continue, with former directors who, apparently, won't take part in the elections. I was interested in knowing their plans, the projects that were being formed and that's when I got the certainty that none of those is similar to ours.

With some seven months to go before the elections, how are the club members doing in your opinion?
There is a crisis of behaviour, of responsibilities and of participation in the club. The board of Laporta has done good things, some bad ones and others haven't been done at all. And despite the excellent results of the team, there's still a feeling of disaffection, of distance, of not fully living the experience of being club member of Barça.

We want to end the passivity and strengthen a new Barça culture, a new way to live things. I want to change the experience of being a member. We'll make an honest Barça, more participatory, we'll use the instruments needed for a good governance and we'll raise the standards for those who represent the members. The essence and the rarity of our club is that we can choose our directors.

Will you get there with a budget of 500.000 euros?
We have a maximum budget of 500.000 euros and we'll get to the end of the campaign with those 500.000 euros.

this was the second and last part of this interview. you can read the first part here.

Read more:
Introducing Benedito (5-parts series)
Poll result: Can Benedito win the elections?
Barça, a 'wonderful rarity' (by Agustí Benedito)

interview: ramón besa

The Quote: Carles Puyol

"When I retire, I might stay in the world of football,
but I don't see myself as coach nor as president."

Carles Puyol,
Barcelona captain

read more election quotes here

Monday, November 23, 2009

Talks on board candidate to start in December

Speaking to Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio, Barcelona institutional vice-president Albert Perrín has said that it would be a mistake if the current board wouldn't present one presidential candidate in next year's elections:

"If this board won't be able to form one candidacy, then we would be quite stupid. It would be absurd that there would be two board candidates because then it would be almost impossible to win. I think we all should make an effort, talk and find a consensus so we can continue the work we have done until now. In all areas - sporting, social, economic - the results of the club have been very positive and we are capable to go on.

Who should be the candidate? We need to keep on talking about that. I think that Alfons Godall and Jaume Ferrer are two people with enough experience in the club and with enough qualities to be president. Xavier Sala i Martín? I think he's a very intelligent person, with qualities, with a ceertain fame, who can fulfil every job. He might lack some experience but that can be compensated by other qualities.

A lot of board members could be the candidate, but it's impossible to replace the president we have now. We've had a president with character, with courage, who has turned this club around. You can discuss about some of his actions, but he has been a dynamic president, enterprising, with innovative ideas, not afraid of anything. He has left his mark and he's kind of irreplaceable.

So we shouldn't look for a substitute because we won't find one and that's maybe why we are still discussing: because the possible candidates are different from the current president. We're not in a hurry to make a decision. The plan is that the board will start the final talks after the World Cup for Clubs in December and that we will have a candidate at the beginning of next year."

Read more:
Chief executive obstacle for one board candidacy
Poll result: Who should be the board candidate?

Respected journalist to run for president?

Catalan sports weekly paper Gol claims that a Spanish journalist is considering to take part in next year's elections for president of FC Barcelona.

The journalist, whose identity is not revealed, is described as a well-respected professional and a true Barcelona fan. Encouraged by several people, he would want to run for president and make his voice heard during the election campaign.

Read more:
Media mogul rejects election involvement
Will former super-agent run for president?

Poll result: Could Guardiola be president?

Some have recently said that Guardiola would be the best president for Barça? Do you share that opinion?

No 55%
Yes 25%
This is not the right moment 10%
I don't know 10%

total votes: 1000
date poll: 11 to 13 november 2009
poll method: telephone inteviews with club members who have the right to vote, 95% certainty
source: diari gol

check more election poll results here

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Benedito: "It won't be a matter of two candidates"

Barcelona presidential candidate Agustí Benedito gave an interview to Spanish newspaper El País.

What could your role be in the expected battle between the continuity candidate and Rosell?
Those who think that the elections are a matter of two are mistaken. Some will vote for Rosell, others for Laporta, but the majority will not vote for one of them, but for other candidates, or will not vote at all.

One must keep in mind that Barça has 183.000 club members, 100.000 of those have joined in the last five years and 70.000 since 2005. We expect that there will be more voters than ever: some 70.000 to 80.000 members on an electoral role of 135.000 and 40.000 members will vote for the first time in their life. Most of these circumstances are in our favour.

All candidates so far have supported or were part of the board of Laporta. What will happen with the project of 2003 that was voted for by an absolute majority and has caused many divisions along the road?
The project of 2003 has its origins in the choice for a model change in 1997. I supported the project with which Laporta became president. And I think that, with some additions and updating, it is still perfectly valid for Barca.

What happened is that the president left the road, he went away from it, and, therefore, it should not be surprising that the people who worked on and believed in the project of 2003 have now the will to take it up and to continue it. Many points of the program have not been executed because the president didn't want to.

You resigned after it became known that Laporta's law firm had intervened in the possible sale of Mallorca. Was that the biggest betrayal of the project?
From the president of Barça we can demand an ethical behaviour, and in this case he didn't even respect the desirable minimum. What is serious in the case of Uzbekistan is that the buyers of Mallorca were professionally linked - there were commercial agreements - with the club and therefore Laporta did at the same time business with those people as president and as lawyer.

Until that moment, there were rumours and reports, but nothing had been confirmed. Laporta told TV3 [Catalan television channel] during the built-up to the vote of no confidence that he had no business links with the world of football but contrary to that, he was trying for a friendly football team friend, Bunyodkor, to buy another football team that was in trouble...

It was clear he had been lying. And I might not have the power to make the president resign, but I do have the freedom to leave myself. We can analyze the management of a club in different ways, and the final outcome of Laporta's mandate is positive, but when we talk about ethics or moral behaviour there is no room for doubt either.

Was the candidate Laporta different from the president Laporta?
In the seven years prior to his presidency, some of the key principles of our project were increasing the transparency, communicating more with club members and letting them more take part in the decisions.

And regarding the honesty and the participation of the members, the results haven't been satisfactory.
The results of the football team couldn't have been better, but in other aspects he has clearly failed.

Winning trophies is a very important objective, but not the reason for being of the club, which are the members. The objective of the football team shouldn't be confused with the essence of FC Barcelona. The key moment, the event that distinguishes us from the others, are the elections.

It sometimes seems that the valuation of the management is no longer based on a job done well or poor, but based on what is ethical or illegal, as if everything that is not illegal is correct.
Yes. I lived the vote of no confidence in 1998 against a president [Josep Lluís Núñez] whose mandate wasn't limited, and I remember the aggressiveness with which he defended himself and which made him call the people who promoted the vote "anti-barcelonistas".

And now I have the feeling that those who criticize or disagree with the management of the board are not just accused of being "anti-barcelonistas" but also of being anti-catalan.
Laporta has politicized the club and he has on the other hand lost control of some things.

In my opinion, the parameters for evaluating the ethics and morals of a president of Barça are at this moment unacceptable or are at least not in accordance with the history and the characteristics of the club.

this was the first part of this interview. you can read the second and last part here.

Read more:
Introducing Benedito (five-parts series)
Poll result: Can Benedito win the elections?
Barça, a 'wonderful rarity' (by Agustí Benedito)

Most read this week

these were the three most read blog posts of the past week:

Laporta meets with Obama campaign advisers

Poll result: Who would you vote for?

The Number: 2.000.000

Rosell appointed as adviser of Nelson Mandela

Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia reports that Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell has in the past days been appointed as member of the advising council of the Mandela Day, a day to honor the legacy of former South Africa president Nelson Mandela and his values through volunteering and community service.

Rosell, who had the support of former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch, will be in charge of organizing and supervising sporting activities for children in need in several countries. Earlier this month, the United Nations General Assembly formally declared 18 July, the birthday of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner, to be Mandela Day.

Read more:
Council linked with Rosell working on ethical code
Rosell worried about 'rich kid' image
Internet entrepreneur joins Rosell candidacy