Saturday, December 19, 2009

Txiki will leave at the end of season

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain will leave the club when his contract expires, on 30 June 2010, and most likely join an English Premier League club after that (read more here).

People from the entourage of the former Barcelona player would have confirmed to the paper that Begiristain has already made the decision to look for a new challenge, independent of the result of the upcoming elections.

Even if current Barcelona vice-president Alfons Godall would be elected as president next year and offer Begiristain a new contract with a serious pay-rise, the Basque wouldn't consider to renew his contract at Barcelona.

Read more:
Will Begiristain leave together with the president?
Poll result: Guardiola to become sports director?
Laporta thought about Begiristain as his successor

The best club team in the history of football

Laporta: "Whoever comes after will find a better club"

Barcelona president Joan Laporta gave an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport.

Is Godall the ideal continuity candidate?
There are two or three very good candidates in the board who could continue with this model.

When will you make a decision?
Every person who wants to lead a candidacy in the elections will decide that. There won't be a consensus decision, we don't have to find an agreement together. Someone will come out, he will choose those he wants to go with him and new people will join in.

The group may split without you?
The majority of this board will be part of one candidacy. This should be decided by the one who will lead it.

Godall is considering a deal with Soriano?
I'm not getting into that. It isn't a good thing to start the electoral dynamics. First there's the World Cup. The process will start after this tournament. Those who want to run the club will come out soon after.

Rosell worries you?
No candidate worries me.

What will your attitude be? Will you put a step backwards?
I will continue presiding Barça until the last day of my mandate and leave the club in the best possible way. I will try not to intervene in the electoral dynamics because the club will organize the elections and we must stay neutral in this process. When the election campaign then formally begins, I will give my opinion

When will the elections be held?
From 15 March I can decide when is best moment for the club. It will depend on the results of the team. It would be normal to hold them at the end of the season although it might in some circumstances be better to hold them as soon as possible.

Will you miss it?
I hope not. I will have nostalgia, but also the peace of mind of having done a good job. Life goes on and you have to look ahead. It will have been seven years. That is enough to explain what we wanted to do and we have done well. Whoever comes after me will without a doubt find a much better Barça than when we arrived in 2003.

Read more:
Poll Rosell confirms his big lead
Godall: "Laporta and I were a tandem"
Two options left for Soriano

interview: joan vehils and albert masnou

Guixa supporting the team in Abu Dhabi

Barcelona presidential candidate Jaume Guixà has explained on social networking website Facebook and on his personal blog that he travelled to Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates, to support Barcelona during the World Cup for Clubs.

Guixà arrived earlier this week in the Arab country together with former Barcelona vice-president Jaume Sobrequés (on the left of the picture - read more here) and other members of his team.

On Wednesday he went to see the semi-final against Atlante and later today he will assist the final against Estudiantes. Yesterday he also met with the president of the Barcelona fans' club in Dubai, a neighbouring emirate, to explain his project.

Read more:
More about Guixa (three-parts series)
Former vice-president part of board team Guixa
Jaume Guixa will run for president

Friday, December 18, 2009

Godall: "I have also been spied upon"

Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall gave an interview to Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia.

If Barça represented the Catalan feeling during the Franco regime, does the club now has to represent the independence movement?
Barca has always been a club involved with the Catalan values, with the rights and freedoms of Catalonia, and as an institution it is good to give support to the Statute [legislation that would give more autonomy to catalonia].

Said that, Barça also wants to be a universal and cosmopolitan club and it is essential that everyone feels comfortable, regardless of where they come from or of the ideology they have. Looking ahead, we must restore the role of a commited club, but we must free it from political implications that may bother some of the followers.

The club justified the spying of some of the vice-presidents saying that they were protecting them, but they were not consulted. Isn't that a little democratic and little transparent way of acting?
That was a mistake. When managing an organization as big and complex as Barça you have to make a lot of decisions. We have made a lot of good ones but sometimes you make a mistake. This has been one of them.

You wouldn't do it?
Who gets involved in a club like Barça at a certain level is exposed to things happening that are not normal or pleasant. In 1996, Laporta, I and other companions founded the Elefant Blau [barcelona opposition group from 1997 to 2000 against then president josep lluís núñez] and I know that at that time we were spied upon or being watched or whatever you want to call it.

When we took part in the 2000 elections against Joan Gaspart, I know that people had gathered information about my financial situation and my business. And I know that I have been investigated during the last seven years. It is part of any activity that involves being in the spotlights that many people can act out of envy or some other interest.

Why haven't you left Barça? Out of loyalty to Laporta, because you like to be in the center of attention...
I didn't look to get attention. I stayed because I believe that you have to be up to your task as a leader when things go wrong. And I believe in this model. The decisions that had been taken were according to the model, and I shared them. When Laporta gives another chance to Rijkaard, to Ronaldinho and to Deco, he's acting in a sincere way, and from that point on you have to accept the consequences.

After losing the titles, a feeling of frustration was generated and that led to a vote of no confidence. Which was a punishment for the board, but we got through it. We had already decided for months that Guardiola would become the coach of the first team, and one of the obligations of directors is to provide stability.

The director general of Barça has to earn 900.000 euros?
The management during this last season has led a fantastic result. We're talking about a year of global crisis. We started the season very concerned about the budget because the attendance at the first games was below average, there was an unfavourable decision on the television rights that forced us to make a deposit of 30 million euros, and the players and the team also kept on winning - fortunately - and earning all the incentives, which meant paying nearly 40 millions in bonuses and extras.

Given this context, ending the year with benefits without having to sell a player nor an inch of land was a merit, among others, of the general manager, and that's why we wanted to reward him. We're talking here about a club with a year budget of 400 million euros. Taking this into account, the salary is reasonable. That figure also includes all the bonuses, so we are actually talking about 500.000 to 900.000 euros.

this is the second part of this interview. you can read the first part here and the third part here.

Read more:
Godall: "Being president would be a dream"
Soriano meeting with Godall and Sala
Poll result: Who should be the board candidate?

interview: m.d. garcía and dagoberto escorcia

Jaume Ferrer will run for president

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona vice-president Jaume Ferrer will be a candidate in next year's elections for president of FC Barcelona and that he will announce his candidacy shortly after the World Cup for Clubs.

Ferrer would have the support of at least five other current members of the Barcelona board: vice-president Albert Perrín and directors Alfons Castro, Jacint Borràs, Josep Anton Colomer and Jordi Torrent.

Ferrer is said to have been regularly meeting with them lately to prepare his project, that will be based on the continuation of the current management and sporting model leaving behind the figure of Laporta, and to plan the composition of his team.

The 46-year old Catalan business man reportedly wants to open his candidacy for all board members, including first vice-president Alfons Godall and treasurer Xavier Sala i Martín, who are both also rumoured to be potential candidates. Ferrer would also want to attract some new names to strengthen his possible board.

Jaume Ferrer joined the Barcelona board as treasurer and director responsible for the economic area when Joan Laporta was elected president in June of 2003. He was appointed as vice-president in November 2007, first responsible for marketing and since last month for assets administration (read more here).

Read more:
Talks on board candidate to start in December
The new board of directors
Barcagate (8) - The Ferrer report

Laporta wanted to replace Rosell by Cruyff

Over the past three days, Paco Gasó, the former bodyguard and driver of Barcelona president Joan Laporta, told his experiences to Madrid sports paper Marca.

Among many other things, Gasó talked about the relation between Laporta and former Barcelona sports vice-president Sandro Rosell:

"One day, around the beginning of October [2003], we were on the doorstep of Cruyff's house. Txiki, Perrín, Laporta and Johan were there. And Laporta suddenly offered Cruyff the vice-presidency and the responsibility for the sports area.

Cruyff said no, that he was comfortable with his way of living, that if Laporta had any problem he knew who to call, but that he didn't want to complicate his life. He was very happy to be able to pack his bags whenever he wanted and travel around the world.

The scene was an unpleasant surprise for me. In the car I asked him why he had done this. 'Isn't Sandro the sports vice-president and don't people like him?' And he answered me: 'Yes, but God willing - I think he was referring to Cruyff - Sandro will leave soon on his own initiative.'

Those were his exact words and that was after only two months of the first season. And it was from that moment on that the two had a lot of discussions, about a friendly game in Mexico, for example, and about many more issues. Everything Sandro said went in one ear and out the other."

Read more:
Rosell: "The problem is Laporta himself"
Sala: "Rosell was always on the wrong side"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guixa: "The club is almost bankrupt"

Barcelona presidential candidate Jaume Guixà gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu.

You have presented yourself as an alternative for the laportism. What does that mean?
We refer to the fact that what the Elefant Blau [barcelona opposition group from 1997 to 2000 against then president josep lluís núñez] wanted - democracy, participation of the club members, respect for the club assets... - and what Laporta personified has not been fulfilled.

On the contrary, the club is getting further away from the members, who don't know what is happening in there. They said for example that we would take part in the American soccer league and then after that they withdraw the project while nobody has explained us why. There has been an accumulation of events that have made the idea of the most voted president in history vanish.

Everything is now only based on the sporting successes of the team. All measures for a more transparent management have been postponed, and there's a feeling that the club is being used for personal gain. The ultimate proof of that are the famous security audits by Joan Oliver. If no one resigned then, that is because there's something hidden.

In 2006, you already said that you didn't believe the balance sheets submitted by the board.
The economic issue is what concerns me the most. Since Ferran Soriano left, I don't know who's responsible for keeping the books and I don't even think they themselves can explain the economic situation. I am able to confirm that we are almost in a state of bankruptcy.

What will we do? We will clean out the closets, which is the only way to know where we are. Laporta promised that he would do that and he ended up making the Ritz pact that was sealed by an embrace with Gaspart. We are also against the reclassification of the Miniestadi, particularly because they haven't consulted the members.

What has motivated you to try a second time?
Since we tried to take part in 2006, we have kept on working and we heard many times that club members were disappointed with Laporta. This has encouraged me and I hope to pass the signatures cut this time and to be part of the actual vote.

It seems that names won't play a big role in these elections. Guardiola, for example, cannot be discussed...
From Guardiola down, everyone must be respected and we should recognize that his appointment was a decision of the board of Laporta. The work that has been done at the youth academy over the past thirty years has also borne fruit.

But from Pep up, we have to start with a clean sheet, with experienced people who don't follow games through teletext and who pay more attention to the squad, which is the essence of Barça.

What is your opinion on the Catalan twist Laporta has given to Barca?
Barça is a Catalan club and that cannot be denied, but if the president wants to do politics, he shouldn't do that by taking advantage of the platform the club offers him.

this is the first part of this interview. in the coming days you will be able to read on this blog the second part with guixa talking among other things about his support in the entourage of the club and his relation with other candidates like sandro rosell.

Read more:
More about Guixa (three-parts series)
Former vice-president part of board team Guixa
Jaume Guixa will run for president

Barcelona could give up Foster plan

Barcelona opposition site Pelikano claims that the club could be ready to give up the plan of remodelling the Camp Nou on the basis of a project by British architect Norman Foster because of electoral motives.

The results of the polls the club is carrying out among club members these days (read more here) would indicate that, although the majority wants a more modern stadium and is in favour of an urban development plan in the surroundings, they also think that because of the global economic crisis, this is not the right time to sell club assets like the Miniestadi to finance an expensive remodelling.

Asked about a new postponement of a deal between the club and the city of Barcelona on the land reclassification of the Miniestadi site, Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall seemed to suggest in an interview with Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia last weekend that the club could withdraw the plan:

"We feel treated badly by the authorities because there are constantly put new obstacles during the process of the reclassification and the conditions and terms that have been proposed have always been contrary to the interests of the club.

Either we find a fair solution or we should think about quitting, which would mean that we keep the current situation and, obviously, again start thinking about what the options are to have more modern facilities so the club members can have the stadium they deserve."

Read more:
More about Benedito: On Txiki and Camp Nou
Barcelona carrying out own election polls
More about Guixa: Politics and Camp Nou

Cartoon 19: Sala doesn't want to outshine anyone

Sala i Martín:
The media and Crackòvia [catalan sketch comedy program] have treated Jan very bad. As board members, we want to keep a low profile and act discretely. We are not at all interested in being the center of attention.

(click the cartoon to enlarge)

by alex


see more cartoons here

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Godall: "Laporta and I were a tandem"

Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall gave an interview to Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia.

Will you run for president of Barça?
In these elections a club model that has been successful and that we want to see having continuity will be in play. At this moment it's not yet clear to me if I will be the candidate, but that cannot be ruled out. It will depend on how we will interpret the electoral climate, the situation of the candidates and the opinions within the board.

The majority of the potential candidates were also part of the project of Laporta. Do they share the same model?
This board and those who have arrived at the point where we are now have always opted for a sporting model, a way of playing, of presence of the youth players, of stability in the technical department... The permanency of Txiki and the fact that there have only been two coaches have been a consequence of this view. Others have been on the board, but have left for various reasons.

Although he was there in the beginning of the project, mister Rosell did not share this model. For example, in November of the first season he already was in favour of dismissing the coach, against the general opinion of the board and the president, and later it was proven that backing the continuity of Txiki and Rijkaard was the right thing because it gave us two league titles and a Champions League.

Other fellow board members, who left after the vote of no confidence, did so for other reasons. Although they committed a mistake, Ferran Soriano and the others who left the club at that moment did share this model during a longer period.

Sandro Rosell left because this board had a model that was basically presidential.
The sporting model of Sandro Rosell is Sandro Rosell. He has a way of interpreting things in a more short-term way. I think he will propose a more personalist club model and that he won't opt for the current way of playing, for the homegrown players and for being patient at the right times.

Would, on the other hand, a deal with Soriano be possible?
That is possible, but it's still very early.

Could the board candidate, which could be you, be a puppet of a Laporta who stays out of the limelight?
History will judge Laporta as a great president. Said that, the Laporta era will end on 30 June 2010. Any future bid will provide the value of our experience, but will also include the seeds of change for the simple reason that the president will change.

What is the difference between you and Laporta?
It is true that we are friends, we share personal views, even ideological ones, and of course on Barça, but our personalities are different. I have tried to help him and to compensate some aspects of his strong character. It was a tandem that has worked, but in the future I also hope to have the luck to be able to count on a future board member or board members who will help me to do well in what will be my role in the board.

Just when the team has an unimprovable image, it appears that the board and the president are not well regarded. Will that change if you become president?
A Barça without Laporta won't have anymore some of the virtues that he has brought to the club and neither some of the excesses or possible shortcomings which, because of his personality and way of being, might have happened.

this is the first part of this interview. read the second part here. and the third part here.

Read more:
Godall: "Being president would be a dream"
Soriano meeting with Godall and Sala
Poll result: Who should be the board candidate?

interview: m.d. garcía and dagoberto escorcia

Will Begiristain leave together with the president?

Asked if Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain could leave the club together with him, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said in an interview with Catalan sports paper Sport that he hopes that Begiristain will stay on:

"Life changes. It isn't a bad thing that people renew themselves, and I'm talking about myself here. I would like Txiki to continue. We are of the same generation, we have a great drive, we act with common sense. What we have lived over these years has been very rewarding. In a few years we'll realize what we have done. There has also been a lot of wear and tear and sometimes your body asks you to stop.

I certainly consider him to be a key figure. He's the one who has won the most titles in the history of the club. Appointing him has been my best decision as president. He's talented, he has an instinct, an ideal character to get along with Pep and Rijkaard, professional, fair, with a good judgment, someone who knows how to act at every moment."

Read more:
Begiristian could leave for Premier League
Elections have no influence on transfer activity
Laporta thought about Begiristain as his successor

The Quote: Jaume Guixa

"The board of mister Laporta will go down in the history of the club as the most unstable one."

Jaume Guixà,
candidate in the elections for president of FC Barcelona

read more election quotes here

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Two options left for Soriano

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that former Barcelona economic vice-president Ferran Soriano is still considering what his final strategy will be ahead of the upcoming elections for president of FC Barcelona.

There would at this moment be two options left: or Soriano will run himself for president, or he will support the candidacy of current Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall.

The key issue is reportedly his job as chairman of Spanish airline Spanair. Soriano will be a candidate if he can find an agreement with the shareholders who appointed him earlier this year. If that's not the case, Soriano would support the continuity candidacy that will be lead by Godall, with whom Soriano already held several contacts (read more here).

Catalan newspaper El Periódico on the other hand claims that there is at this moment no chance at all that Soriano will take part in the elections as a candidate or as a collaborator of another presidential candidate because of his job at the Catalan-owned airline.

Read more:
Soriano meeting with Godall and Sala
Poll result: Who would you vote for today?
Soriano scoring in Japan with management book

Minguella hoping for non-Laporta linked candidate

Asked about the upcoming elections, former players' agent and former presidential candidate Josep Maria Minguella, who could again run for president next year (read more here), has said in an interview with Catalan sports weekly paper Gol that he hopes for a candidate who has no links with the current president:

"It's still very early to talk about favourites, and even more so because the World Cup for Clubs, that could put a great end to a fantastic year, still has to be played.

It's a fact that Rosell has already presented his candidacy and that there will be coming one or two more candidates from the current board. But the only thing I hope for is that there will be a candidate who really stands at the side of the club members and who has never been linked with Laporta. I mean that one should be able not to just vote for or against Laporta but for a neutral candidate.

I surely think that in the next elections the names of possible signings won't have an impact on the final result. Trying to strengthen the squad when the team is doing excellent like is the case now, is not the right way to go. You only have to base your candidacy on transfers when the sporting results haven't been positive."

Read more:
Will former super-agent run for president?
Candidates disapprove Laporta's party behaviour
Cartoon 17: Minguella offering himself

Weekly Round-Up (3)

Every week an overview of the posts from this blog is published on Barcelona news site totalBarca.

These are good times for polling agencies. The Barcelona board has ordered to carry out a poll among club members, which includes the evaluation of a series of current and former board members and gathers information about the approximately 40.000 club members who could vote for the first time next year. Sandro Rosell meanwhile held own polls that confirm that he is currently supported by over 50 per cent of the voters.

Another poll on the other hand indicates that club members think that Joan Laporta is being a good president. The president, who got praised by the world's best chef Ferran Adriá, also would have preferred to run again but is anyhow looking forward to an interesting campaign: "I'm curious to hear about the options that our opponents will bring to the table to challenge the sporting, economic and social model that has allowed us to live the best years in the history of the club."

>>> read the complete weekly round-up here

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Quote: Sandro Rosell

"We went there to teach football and we returned having learnt humanity."

Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell,
on the Football Dreams project in Qatar

read more election quotes here

Puyol not thinking about elections

Barcelona central defender and captain Carles Puyol gave an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport during which he also talked about the upcoming presidential elections.

How does the captain of the team look at the election process?
Honestly, is not an issue I think about. I am focused on playing, I don't know when the campaign will start or when elections will be held. These are things that we cannot control. We will be focusing on playing, on competing for the titles, that's the most important thing for us. I'm sure that each candidate will do his job and that they will look for the best for Barça.

As a club member, will you come out and vote?
If I will be around, I certainly will do that. Although since one cannot vote by mail, it will be impossible when I'm out of the country.

Read more:
The Quote: Carles Puyol
Begiristian could leave for Premier League
Cesc gives his ok to presidential candidates

Godall not pronouncing on candidacy

Asked if he will be a candidate in the elections for president of FC Barcelona that will take place next year (read more here), Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall has said in an interview with Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia that the decision on the board candidate hasn't yet been made:

"In the coming elections a club model club that has been successful and that we want to see having continuity will be in play. At this moment I am not sure if I will be the candidate, but that should not be ruled out. It will depend on how we will interpret the electoral atmosphere, the situation of the candidates and the opinions within the board of directors."

Read more:
Godall: "Being president would be a dream"
Soriano meeting with Godall and Sala
Talks on board candidate to start in December

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Poll result: Change or continuity?

Regarding the upcoming elections,
would you prefer a board of change or a continuity one?

Change 57,6 %
Continuity 34,6 %
Don't know/Don't answer 7,8 %

total votes: 800
date poll: 29 november 2009
poll method: interviews with club members who have the right to vote by polling agency Gesop in the surroundings of the Camp Nou around the time of the league game against Real Madrid, 95% certainty, 3,5% margin of error
source: el periódico

check more election poll results here

Most read this week

Former vice-president part of board team Guixa

At a press conference in the Meliá hotel in Girona, a city in the northeast of Catalonia, Barcelona presidential candidate Jaume Guixà has presented on Friday former Barcelona vice-president Jaume Sobrequés (picture, on the left) as a member of his candidacy.

Sobrequés explained at the press conference his reasons for supporting Guixà in his race to the presidency: "I support Jaume Guixà because I see him as a person who could lead FC Barcelona in an effective and different way. He could be the new blood that is needed as he doesn't have any historical links with the club.

Laporta will try for a continuity candidate to keep on leading the club, but I think the club needs someone with a different way of acting and being than the outgoing president, and that Barça should be led by a strict and punctual person like Guixà, a professor and a man of sciences and someone who is used to that kind of seriousness.

I also insist that we need to decentralize the club. We don't stop talking about Barcelona being the club of Catalonia, but that should be put in practice and that's why we are here today and why we will later be in Lleida and Tarragona, so that the club members and the fans' clubs of the whole territory feel that we respresent them. We want to have the support of as many people as possible, not only of the club members who can vote for us but also of others who support the club."

Jaume Sobrequés, who will be part of the club's board of directors if Guixà is chosen president, is a 66-year old historian, university professor and former politician. From 1993 to 2000, Sobrequés was part of the Barcelona board under then president Josep Lluís Núñez, being a vice-president of the club for a couple of years during that period.

Read more:
More about Guixa
Candidates disapprove Laporta's party behaviour
Jaume Guixa will run for president