Saturday, February 13, 2010

Godall rejects Soriano leading board candidacy

Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall has today reacted on his personal Facebook page to the rumours about a deal with former vice-president Ferran Soriano, who would take the lead of a joint candidacy (read more here):

"I would like to say, regarding some 'news reports' about Ferran Soriano that have appeared in the media, that I think that he has done an excellent job while he was at the club although those who left after the vote of no censure where wrong to do so.

But that is the past now. From my leadership in the 'More Barça' project, I think that it would be positive to recover Ferran for the Barça of the future, but we should reach an agreement...

I any case rule out to hand over the leadership of the 'More Barça' project! The basis of the project is to draw up a plan for the future while recognizing the best era and the best president in the modern history of FC Barcelona!"

Read more:
Soriano to run for president
Godall: "I'm not the puppet of Laporta"
Could Soriano lead Godall candidacy?

Everybody knows Sandro Rosell

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that an enquiry by one of the candidates in the elections for president of FC Barcelona shows that Sandro Rosell has a 'popularity rate' of 100%, which means that all the people polled know who he is and that he plans to run for president.

From the other candidates who have already announced that they will take part in the elections in June, Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall has reportedly the second highest 'popularity rate', with 90%.

Barcelona assets vice-president Jaume Ferrer has a rate of 75%, while Agustí Benedito and Jaume Guixà are known by 15% of the people who took part in the poll. It is generally believed that a higher 'popularity rate' in most cases automatically leads to more votes.

Read more:
Poll Rosell confirms his big lead
Guixa carrying out own election poll
Ferrer feels backed by own poll

Guixa adds female historian to his team

Barcelona presidential candidate Jaume Guixà has on Thursday announced that 43-year old Catalan historian Mercè Morales (picture, on the right) will be part of his team ahead of the elections for president of FC Barcelona in June of this year.

Morales, who has written several books about the club, explained at the press conference why she is part of the candidacy: "To me, Jaume Guixà is a real alternative because Barça needs a change and the other candidates aren't bringing that. We need more democracy and less self-centeredness.

We need a Barça in which the constant frictions in the board are put to an end. A democratic Barça, with a president who attracts people and doesn't reject people. Jaume is a man of consensus and to me as a club member he transmits the confidence I need to get from a president of my club.

I also want to stress the role of women within the club. She is no longer just someone who comes along, but has turned into an active supporter. That's why the role of women in the board of FC Barcelona shouldn't be passive, women must have an important role, especially at a club in which 25 percent of members are women.

Almost all the sections have a women's team, but we don't receive news about them and they are not enough promoted. The women's football team exists since 2001, but has been neglected in recent times and that is a mistake because women's football will soon become important in this country, that's unstoppable."

Read more:
Guixa: "I reaffirm that the club is almost bankrupt"
Three 'Dream Team' players in candidacy Guixa
Guixa carrying out own election poll

Soriano to run for president

Catalan radio station Ona FM claims that former Barcelona economic vice-president Ferran Soriano will soon officially announce that he will run for president of FC Barcelona in the upcoming elections later this year.

The chairman of Spanish airline Spanair would lead a candidacy that would include current board members, among which Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall and Barcelona treasurer Xavier Sala i Martín, and former board members, among which ex-sports vice-president Marc Ingla. Barcelona chief executive Joan Oliver would not be part of the candidacy.

Soriano would make his candidacy public after he has solved some issues he has left on the table at Spanair. Barcelona president Joan Laporta was reportedly unwilling to accept Soriano as candidate but would now think that it would be the best option to win the elections.

Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu claims that there have been intensified talks between Godall and Soriano over the last days, in which the current vice-president would have accepted to leave Soriano the first place of a joint candidacy. With now mainly the discussion on who should be part of the list left, the deal would be announced at the latest in two or three weeks time.

Barcelona treasurer Xavier Sala i Martín has in the meantime nevertheless denied on his Facebook page that Soriano would head the candidacy he will be part of: "The reports that the continuity candidacy will be led by Ferran Soriano are false! The continuity candidacy will be led by Alfonso Godall.

The integrationist character of Alfons makes him trying to restore relations with people as valid as Ferran Soriano. But the leader (and the next president of the club) is Alfons Godall. There is no doubt about that nor is this an object of negotiation. Period."

Read more:
Soriano: "I don't rule out anything"
Poll result: Who will you vote for?
Could Soriano lead Godall candidacy?

The Pundit: Josep Maria Casanovas on pre-campaign

« The elections will only be officially called at the end of April, which means that there are two long months left of meetings, offers and agreements. »

Josep Maria Casanovas,

Friday, February 12, 2010

Godall: "Txiki will be my sports director"

Barcelona first vice-president and presidential candidate Alfons Godall gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu.

What are your plans for the other sports sections of the club?
Initially, this board didn't know well how to deal with them. But now people can see great games at the Palau and the stands are filled. We're on the right path, but we need a new Palau to go even further.

So the Foster plan is a priority for you?
One of the main objectives is the new Palau and the remodelling of the Camp Nou to provide a better service: more stairs, more elevators, and making sure that everyone is covered when it rains.

You will continue the club's commitment to solidarity?
The great challenge is to give 0.7% of the revenues of the club to programs of the foundation. I totally want to maintain the partnerships with agencies of the United Nations.

The club has considered to give the stadium the name of a commercial brand?
The tradition allows us at the most to talk about the New Camp Nou after the remodelling. But we should consult with the members on the possibility that the stadium would be named after a brand.

The issue of the guarantees worries you?
We need to do what is asked by the competent authority, in this case the professional football league. And I am convinced that neither myself nor Jaume Ferrer, in case we are both heading a candidacy, will have to put down a bank guarantee.

Certain media insist that you might not be able to run following a complaint made to the Catalan Sports Court... [regarding the fact that the board didn't correctly call the elections in 2006]
The reports of certain media and certain allegations are very strange manoeuvres. Basically, we are talking about the most noble democratic right, the right to vote of the club member and the free participation in the elections. One shouldn't pay too much attention to those rumours. I believe that this potential disqualification by the Catalan Sports Court is based on nothing.

If you would be elected as president, will you be attacked by the Spanish media because you're a catalanist?
It's obvious that I'm not even considering to weaken my commitment to the country a little. The day of the presentation, I already made it very clear when launching our slogan of "More Barça", that we also want more Catalonia. Barça is Catalonia.

Do you want Txiki Begiristain to continue?
I am very clear that if it's possibly in some way, he will be my sports director.

You might need to have to convince him to continue...
We have not spoken yet, but we will have a quiet conversation. The renewal of Guardiola has already been great news, and now we will talk to Txiki. It would be great to reach an agreement with him before the elections.

And what about Joan Oliver?
I want a high-profile chief executive, who's efficient, who knows Barça and the market, who knows the television rights, and Oliver responds to that profile.

Xavier Sala I Martín will be your right-hand man?
It's an honour to walk side-by-side with him. He brings us a very pragmatic view on things. He makes things easier, and I feel strong about having him there with me. He will be a very important person in our project, but not the only one. I want to have a good team around me, with people like Josep Cubells, who is doing very well at the basketball section, with Joan Boix, Rafa Yuste, tireless people in the social area. We also have the luxury to have Magda Oranich with us. And I would like to continue getting the advice of Maria Elena Fort, an expert on urban development issues.

You will also introduce new people?
I have already spoken with three or four people who will join us, great Barcelona fans with a very modern and professional profile. Very competitive people, with experience, 35 to 50 years old, who will add some new energy.

One of these names is Ferran Soriano?
I've talked to him, and he is focused on the management of Spanair. I have an excellent relationship with him, as with Marc Ingla and other people who left after having done a fantastic job. Reincorporate them would be very positive and I would like to participate to that by doing what is needed to restore things.

But if Soriano joins your group, you would still head the candidacy?
I see myself leading the project. We should talk with him, but the conversations will always start from the assumption that I lead the candidacy.

this is the third and last part of this interview.

Read the previous parts of the interview here:
Godall: "I'm giving up my private life"
Godall: "We believe in the North-American market"

interview: ferran correas and toni padilla

Poll: Who would you vote for?

Benedito: "We want to repeat the historical results"

Barcelona presidential candidate Agustí Benedito gave an interview to Catalan online paper El Singular Digital.

Are you in favour of linking politics and sports?
No, not at all. The Catalan character of Barça defines Barça. Nobody can want, and in any case he won't get away with it, to reduce the Catalan identity of the club by even a millimetre. This is an integral part of the club, it's defining and it must be defended strongly, firmly.

That's what Laporta does, no?
To defend the Catalan character of Barça is one thing and getting involved in party politics is another. I respect his political ideas and I recognise his aspirations, but he should do all this once he has left the presidency of the club. Barça cannot be used for any personal interest. Laporta takes advantage of Barça and the club's Catalan character for his political career. He has made a big mistake there.

The candidates now have to deal with a club that is too politicized?
Yes. In the last months Laporta has managed to increase the instability and the tension among the fans of Barça. We must defend the club's Catalan identity without looking for any personal gain and without doing party politics.

Let's change subject. The candidate Alfons Godall wants to reach a club budget of 1.000 million euros in 2016. Is that possible?
Saying things like that can have a media impact but I find it little rigorous. A budget should be understood within a framework of a balance sheet and a profit and loss account. I'd like to know on the basis of which models they are working, but in general I would like them to use these concepts in a more solid and serious way.

It also has an impact on the bank guarantees needed in future elections, right?
If Barça has a budget of 1.000 million euros, the club member who wants to take part in future elections should put down a guarantee of 150 millions since the guarantee should represent 15% of the budget of the club. The board should not put down that guarantee, that's what the statutes say. Therefore, it would be very difficult for a non-board club member to participate.

Strangely we have talked little about sports. At this level, the current Barça can be improved?
It's impossible to improve the results of the senior football team of Barça, we have won everything. Regarding the sports structures, if we win the elections we want to talk with Josep Guardiola to explain him what our idea is and to shape things based on his opinion.

It seems that he's not ready to stay at the club for a long time.
I think he would like to continue and we will do what we can to make this happen. If he doesn't, Barça will go on as it has done in these 109 years of history before he arrived. The challenge is very big, the results are historical, but we must never give up the objective, the will and the dream to repeat it, with or without Pep.

You think he feels comfortable with the board of Laporta?
I'm not aware of the details of the personal relationship between them. But it's very clear to Guardiola that it was the current president and the current board who gave him the opportunity to become the coach of Barça. I don't have other information than that.

this was the third and last part of this interview.

Read the previous parts:
Benedito: "I shaped a reliable and solid model"
Benedito: "Board should be at same level as team"

interview: xavier march

The Pundit: Salvador Sostres on candidacy Sala

« Laporta preferred Xavier Sala i Martín as board candidate but many told him: 'The problem of Xavier is that he's too smart for the club member of Barça'. The president insisted for a while but in the end the rule of mediocrity was imposed. »

Salvador Sostres,
El Mundo

Vice-president Yuste to leave after elections

Catalan sports weekly paper Gol claims that Barcelona sports vice-president Rafael Yuste (picture, on the left) will not continue at the club after the elections later this year, independently of who the next president of FC Barcelona will be.

Yuste, who said last week that he won't actively take part in the elections (read more here), would have informed his board colleagues that he will leave the club in July and that he will serve as right-hand man Barcelona president Joan Laporta (picture, on the right) when the latter starts his political career.

Catalan businessman Rafael Yuste joined the board of directors of Barcelona in November of the year 2005. In July 2008, after eight board members left because of the result of the vote of no confidence, he was appointed as sports vice-president.

Read more:
Directors considering to leave the club
The five vice-presidents of Godall
Vice-president Yuste won't take part in campaign

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rosell wants to cancel sports director

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell doesn't want to appoint a new sports director if he would be elected as president of FC Barcelona in the elections later this year.

The former sports vice-president would plan to offer Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola the full responsibility of the sports area, including the transfers and the youth academy.

Rosell would take care of the business side of the sports area while current Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain, whose contract epxires at the end of this season, would have the leave and wouldn't be replaced. In case Guardiola wouldn't continue at the club, Rosell would appoint a new coach and a new sports director.

Read more:
Guardiola will sign renewal after elections
Rosell confirms that he will run for president
Guardiola will push candidates to sign Cesc
Txiki will leave at the end of season

Ferrer: "The club needs a more discreet president"

Barcelona assets vice-president and presidential candidate Jaume Ferrer gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu.

Will you claim the continuity character of your project, despite the fact that Laporta does not support you?
Yes, given that continuity is understood as to continue with the project of the past seven years. But I do believe that the style should be changed. I don't know if Godall will be able to do that, because he's very close to Laporta, but we are convinced that the club needs a more discreet president, who gives up centre stage to the players and the coaches. The president has to appear less in the media and be respectful of everyone. And he should avoid events that do not make the club members feel proud.

You talk about style, about attitude. Over these years, have you ever felt uncomfortable about the way the president behaved?
I think that everyone has to defend the management he wants the club to have, and that is what I have done. And when your choice is to help the club function well, you sometimes have to hold on. My priority has always been to act responsible and efficient in my area of responsibility. And to do that with discretion.

After the vote of no confidence in 2008, you decided not to resign. It certainly was because of this that Laporta was able to stay on as president.
I do not know what would have happened if I would have resigned. It is true that I had doubts, but I think that staying has been a wise decision. Leaving would have been easier. It was an exercise in responsibility.

Let's talk about the sports area. Txiki Begiristain will be part of the future Barça?
Yes. We believe in the model that includes a coach and a sports director, which is what has given us so many successes in recent years. Txiki has been crucial in building the squads of the last seasons and he is a man of dialogue who knows how to keep a good relationship with all levels of the club.

Will you be able to convince him?
I will try. A while ago, I thought it was more difficult for him to continue, while it seems easier now. I think he's more up for it.

The continuation of Guardiola is not a point of discussion...
Yes, we certainly will reach an agreement. The work he has done is spectacular and there will be no problem to renew his contract.

Let's talk about some of the issues that you have been in touch with during those seven years. What is the role of the other sports?
The sections are a very important part of the club. Barça would not be the same without some of the other sports and we must continue to strengthen them. It's hard because we compete with clubs who have all the support from their local authorities, but it should be done, because after all we all feel proud of the achievements of these teams.

You will keep on choosing for home-grown coaches?
Yes, it is something very important. They are people who know the club, who know what we need and who understand how they should manage a first team.

You also have been responsible for the marketing area. The team will continue to wear the Unicef logo on the shirt?
We are pleased with the agreement with UNICEF and with the solidary activities of the foundation. This co-operation has to continue. I'm not sure if that will include the logo on the shirt or not, because Unicef must also want that.

Now you are responsible for the real estate. What should happen with the project of Norman Foster?
First, the reclassification of the Miniestadi site should be finished and then we'll see how this has ended. After that, we must find the resources to renew the stadium. We need to revise the initial project so the Camp Nou can compete with the best football stadiums in Europe at a final cost that is of common sense.

Do you mean that it would be better to have a less monumental reform than the one proposed by Foster?
In fact, we don't have the project of Foster. There is the scale model, but we don't yet know the actual and concrete cost. We have to analyze it well, so the remodelling stays reasonable.

Have you ever considered to include any brand name in the name of the stadium as a source of income?
That is one of the options that should be studied, because if we want to compete with the big European clubs, we will have to find new revenues. But it should be in exchange for a very important sum of money. And it should be approved by the general assembly.

It's clear to you that you don't have to put down a bank guarantee?
Yes, very clear. We have looked at the issue and I'm sure the professional football league won't have any problem about us not doing it, because it's what the rules provide. We have already put down the guarantee in the past and we have now generated enough resources to not have to do it again.

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

Read more:
Ferrer: "Efficiency, discretion and renewal"
Boix will not choose between Godall and Ferrer
A first look at the project of Ferrer

interview : ferran correas and dani colmena

Rexach will run if he gets Facebook support

Former Barcelona player and manager Carles Rexach has said at the end of last month on Catalan local televisión channel Canal Català that he will run for president if a Facebook group in support of his candidacy would reach 5.000 members. After this statement, a group was created that has until this date gathered a few hundred people.

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo meanwhile claimed last week that a series of meetings took place to reactivate the option that Rexach would run for president in the elections. A group of Barcelona fans would have everything prepared and would only be waiting for the decision of Rexach (read more here).

The former player and coach would reportedly again be more willing to accept the offer than he was a couple of weeks ago (read more
here). Catalan sports weekly paper Gol on the other hand claims that the group that wants Rexach to run would have problems to get the project financed.

Read more:
Rexach confirms offer to run for president
Catalan journalist rejects offer to run for president
Llaurado admits talks with Minguella and Rexach

The Catalan Cave: Francisco Avila (EFE)

in this section, we ask catalan and spanish sports journalists five questions about the elections for president of fc barcelona. today: francisco ávila from spanish news agency efe.

1. Sandro Rosell is at this moment the big favourite to be the next president of Barça without having made a lot of public statements since he left the club in June 2005. How do you explain that?
Because of the expectations created around his person. Rosell is a person with many contacts in the world of football, as he showed during the two years he served as sports vice-president and previously at Nike. Despite not making statements, he always has a lot of media presence, because of the good relationships he has with the media and that's also why, while the other candidates are appearing on stage, the team of Rosell keeps on waiting. It's a debatable strategy although it's build on a strong and well-defined communication policy.

2. If you were Ferran Soriano, what would you do?
Keep on waiting, look at the different options available and clarify the complicated situation he is facing as chairman of Spanair. I think that Soriano is the big bet of Alfons Godall to form a power duo with Xavier Sala i Martín, with whom Soriano has a great relationship. It is not to be ruled out, if this happens, that Soriano can lead this group if the right circumstances are there.

3. In recent weeks, you have interviewed Jaume Guixà and Agustí Benedito. Who of those two has left the best impression?
They are two completely different discourses. Jaume Guixà plays the card that he is the only candidate who doesn't come from the laportism, because he thinks this can give an electoral payoff. His strongest point of support is that he describes himself as "serious", but I think that everything will be decided in the debates on the models and the ideas. Personally, I think it will be difficult for him to pass the cut of the signatures, as happened in 2006.

Agustí Benedito has the advantage of knowing the club from within, without this meaning that he shares the way in which Laporta has led the club. In fact, he resigned from his post and he has been highly critical of the management by the team in charge. His main argument, as a member of the no longer existing 'Elefant Blau', is that the ideas need to be reformulated starting from that former basis. He has credibility and he could be the big surprise.

4. Xavier Sala i Martín is an asset or a liability for Alfons Godall?
Sala i Martín is a big shot in the world of finances, a renowned economist who can give some brightness to any candidacy. However, he arouses both admiration and suspicion in the Barcelona entourage, probably because he is not able to reach the average fan, since in his media appearances he is at another level. Asset or liability? It depends on the role he plays. If he participates in the debate of ideas, he'll attract votes. If he only exercises as radical critic, he will surely be a nuisance.

5. The decision to hold the election on 13 June was correct?
It is a complicated matter. It's better when the season has ended or before that? Personally, I would have chosen an earlier date, since there is no danger that it will influence the performances of the team and the pre-campaign would not have been dragging on for as long as it will now.

If you were a club member of Barça, who would you vote for?

The previous elections have always been decided at the end, I still remember how the victory of Laporta in 2003 happened, and now something similar can happen. The decision is complicated, I will wait to see how everything develops.

All your possessions are at stake. Give the top-3 of the elections on 13 June.

Thank you for this interview and your time. Good luck in covering the elections.

The Pundit: Emilio Pérez de Rozas on candidacy Godall

« The man who, in the first weeks of the mandidate of Joan Laporta resisted, refused, to become one of the vice-presidents of the new board because he wanted to "live peacefully", has now made a step forward. »

Emilio Pérez de Rozas,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Majo stepping out of Minguella-Medina project

Catalan sports paper Sport reports that former presidential candidate Jordi Majó (picture, on the left) will not join a presidential candidacy that would include, among other people, former presidential candidates Josep Maria Minguella (picture, on the right) and Jordi Medina (read more here).

The group of people would have been holding contacts for a while trying to form a candidacy. The idea is said to have been that the three former candidates would become vice-presidents and that they would offer another person to lead the project.

Catalan journalist Xavier Bosch was reportedly the first to reject the offer to head the candidacy because of personal reasons (read more here) and later contacts that were started with two former players also didn't yet lead to concrete results.

Majó would now have finally decided not to take part in the candidacy because he don't believe any longer in the project, and would yesterday have informed his entourage about his decision. The Catalan businessman confirmed the news to the paper:

"I have spoken with pre-candidates and potential pre-candidates and if I now reveal the project with Minguella that is because he has been the first to disclose it publicly. I would have preferred that it wouldn't come to light, as this forces me to take a position and I have decided not to continue.

I maintain a good personal relationship with Josep Maria, but there are differences of opinion and I do not feel comfortable in a candidacy that advances in a way that doesn't convince me. I think my decision is the most honest thing I can do."

Read more:
Minguella confirms talks with Medina and Majo
Guixa: "The most powerful candidacy is ours"
Majo considering to participate in the elections

Godall: "We believe in the North-American market"

Barcelona first vice-president and presidential candidate Alfons Godall gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu.

The headquarters, the logo, the message... Everything is very Laporta-like, right?
Well, we come from where we come. Things have worked very well, both in the sports area as in the economic and social area. We are the club that wears Unicef on the chest, the club has gone from being more than a club to being more than a club in the world. We have a legacy and we need more Barça to continue to develop this successful model. We can do it. We have a great starting point.

Joan Laporta is the best president in the history of the club?
It's up to the fans to answer that question, but based on the numbers, we could say yes. But we'll have to wait for time to go by before we know it and before we can say it with certainty.

Looking back at your time in office, what do you feel most proud of?
Of the process of modernization and globalization of the club. And to have held on to an attractive way of playing, to our system, to wanting to win by playing well, choosing for the players of the academy. Joan Laporta, with his charisma and energy, has been the one who promoted this.

And what would you consider to be the negative aspects of this mandate?
There has been a period of sporting frustration because of not winning anything with a great squad for two years. This generated anger and frustration and led to the vote of no confidence. There have also been some badly received anecdotal episodes because of the strong personality of Joan.

Can we say that your candidacy is the continuity candidacy?
A period ends and another one starts. We need to make room for a new impulse. Just continuing with this management is not a sufficient argument to convince the club members, more things are needed. To have new ideas that complement the experiences we've gained. We see a club that soon can have a budget of a billion euros, we see social growth and the consolidation of our playing style and our solidary commitment.

You have said that you won't be the puppet of Laporta...
I will have my own project. And I will lead it. I want this to be clear. I think that people from outside will try to say those things, but the facts will show that I will lead this project. You have for example already seen from the start that I didn't always choose for the strategic alliances that could please Joan Laporta the most.

Do you close the door to possible electoral pacts?
I keep in mind the possibility of talking with potential future participants in the election process.

What will be the differences compared to the period of Laporta?
In the first place, the president will be different, which will bring a new style, a new way of governing. I think there are important elements left to develop, issues we didn't have time to work on or to finish, like the latest developments of the real estate assets. We want to remodel the Camp Nou, build a new Palau, complete the training centre by buying more land and getting it ready for the other sports teams. We want to develop the Barça Parc project in Viladecans. The presence of the brand in key markets should also be emphasized. We put aside the franchise project in the United States, but I would like to pick up the idea. We believe in the North-American market.

Your candidacy will announce names of players, of possible transfers during the election campaign?
If Guardiola and Txiki ask for players, we are able to sign them. My names will be the names asked by the technical staff.

These elections will be a Godall-Rosell duel or will it be more open?
I think the process will be polarized and focus on two candidates, Alfons Godall and Sandro Rosell. One project based on an experience that has worked, mine, and someone who wants to change everything, Sandro. It will be interesting to hear his proposals and to see what he says, if he wants to change something that works or not change anything.

So Rosell cannot be considered to be responsible for the sporting success of the club?
He left very quickly because he didn't share our sports model. And I insist. I would like to know if he wants to change things, and if so, which things. And if he does not want to change anything, why is he running? Maybe out of resentment and grudge. If this is the source of his bid, that doesn't seem right.

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

Read more:
Godall: "I'm not the puppet of Laporta"
Business partner Laporta in candidacy Godall
Godall chosing campaign songs

interview: ferran correas and toni padilla

Former vice-president Castells considering to run

The two main Catalan sports papers, Sport and El Mundo Deportivo, claim today that former Barcelona first vice-president Joan Castells is considering to run for president of FC Barcelona in the elections that will be held in June of this year.

Castells, who reportedly has been closely following the events surrounding the club over the last years as well as the pre-election movements, would yesterday evening have held a dinner with several team members of his 2000 candidacy and a group of other Barcelona fans, who are trying to convince him to take part in the elections, to discuss the situation.

Joan Castells is the 57-year old chairman and chief executive of Spanish mutual insurance company
Fiatc. In 2000, he was a pre-candidate in the elections for president of Barcelona but he ended up joining the candidacy of then vice-president Joan Gaspart.

After Gaspart won the elections, Castells was appointed as economic vice-president of the club. In December 2002, Castels resigned as first vice-president after Gaspart refused to call early elections. In the 2006 elections, Castells decided not to run and supported pre-candidate Jordi Medina.

Read more:
Llaurado confirms that he will run
Former candidate Angel Fernandez will not run
Role Masfurroll in Rosell candidacy unclear

The Pundit: Dagoberto Escorcia on Rosell-Soriano duel

« It would be good that Soriano would participate in these elections, especially because if there's anyone in the Barcelona entourage Rosell is allergic to it's precisely the president of Spanair. Rosell-Soriano would be a Champions League duel. »

Dagoberto Escorcia,
La Vanguardia

Poll result: Elections on non-match day?

What do you think about the fact that the elections aren't held on a match day?

Very bad 42%
Bad 27%
Good 9%
Very good 6%
Indifferent 4%
Don't know/Don't answer 12%

total votes: 1000
date poll: 4 to 6 february 2010
poll method: telephone interviews with club members who have the right to vote, 95% certainty
source: gol

check more election poll results

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Could Soriano lead Godall candidacy?

Asked about a possible partnership with former Barcelona economic vice-president Ferran Soriano (picture) ahead of the presidential elections in June (read more here), Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall didn't exclude in an interview with Spanish television channel TVE that Soriano could lead a joint candidacy:

"I've never denied and I will never deny that Ferran Soriano and other colleagues that left with him [in july 2008, after the vote of no confidence] have done an excellent job, especially in the economic area but also regarding the organization of the club and so on.

I think that it would be very positive for the club to recover Ferran Soriano and people of the group that supported him.
I have a good personal relationship with Ferran, with Marc [Ingla, former vice-president] and every now and then we talk.

Should I be the number one if we team up? That's an issue that is totally open for discussion. From now until 13 June, there are a lot of days left, although my position is in principle clear. I've presented myself as pre-candidate and I want to be candidate and president."

Read more:
Soriano: "I don't rule out anything"
Godall: "I'm not the puppet of Laporta"
Poll result: What should Ferran Soriano do?

Marketing expert: "It will be an Obama-type campaign"

Carles Torrecilla, marketing professor at ESADE in Barcelona, gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo.

The number of club members has grown.
Not only the number of voters has grown a lot, they've also got more heterogeneous. If there are 50.000 members, it's possible they're all very alike, but if you have 100.000 you in fact have a very heterogeneous group.

But classifiable?
If there are few, you can divide them by age, social class, by purchasing power. But when we speak about those kinds of quantities, you have to classify them based on socio-demographic characteristics.

What does that mean?
Well, we have for example a meaningful number of Barcelona fans who are immigrants, not Spaniards but foreigners. That is an aspect that in the US is taken into account a lot when signing players. The NBA teams recommend their scouts to focus on this or that country because they have a lot of fans from that area.

What should be the basic electoral strategy?
In the elections for president of Barça, candidates used to focus on one theme, I am the Catalan, or I am the one who supports the fan clubs... This won't do it any longer. This will be a campaign that is no longer focused on the mass media, but that will spread to the internet, it will be an Obama-type campaign, so to speak.

Explain yourself.
The candidates will need to have their facebook account, their mail account, their twitter account, they will have to send mobile messages, they will have to organize events at bars and clubs and things like that. Not because the voters have changed in terms of age, that would be the most instinctive reflection. Nor just because they are younger. The point is that there are different groups with different expectations. It will therefore be necessary to offer different messages.

Isn't there a risk that these messages contradict each other?
That's why the campaign shouldn't be about people but about teams. Until now, the board was formed by the president and people known by the president but not by the public. During this last term you could already see that some directors became more important. In the future, the rest of the board will embody different concerns, as in politics.

The logistics side has an influence?
Yes, because of only having one place where people can vote. This wasn't a problem until now because many members lived very close the stadium. But from now on, if the elections are not on a match day, voters belonging to one majority segment, as well as many other people, will not be represented. That will lead to conflicts. Barça being more than a club, it doesn't make sense that the elections are not held on a match day because if that's the case, the members who live the farthest won't come out to vote. On the other hand, more and more members are living further away, members who also do not usually come to watch the games. There is a risk, like in politics, that the participation drops and that the board becomes an organ that is separated from the social dynamics of the club and that could be dangerous.

Read more:
How many people will be able to vote?
Laporta meets with Obama campaign advisers
Plan for internet voting rejected

interview: f. perearnau

Ferrer: "I started thinking about this a year ago"

Barcelona assets vice-president and presidential candidate Jaume Ferrer gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu.

A little more than a month ago you announced that you would run for president of Barça. What are your feelings now?
In fact, things were clear to me a whole time before. But since the announcement, I think people are more aware of it, I feel a lot of enthusiasm and I'm very motivated to make it to the final vote and to win the elections.

You said that you were considering this for a while. When did you think for the first time about the possibility of leading a continuity project?
I didn't think about it until a year ago. It was clear to me that this project still had something to give and that it needed some renewal to go ahead. I also was motivated to do this myself and the support of my board colleagues in the end convinced me.

I suppose that you then hoped to lead a single candidacy and to be the heir of Laporta.
More than being the heir of Laporta, what I thought was that there would be one list coming from this board, which would have been the most recommendable thing to do. However, for everyone who wants that it is legitimate to run, so that's fine.

You totally exclude a deal with Alfons Godall?
It is very difficult. I don't like to close any door, but the deal should have happened a lot earlier. For several reasons it wasn't to be and now it is almost impossible.

During the talks with Godall, he took a very tough stand regarding accepting people like Albert Perrín and Jacint Borràs to be part of his candidacy?
I would say that he had some very clear ideas about his candidacy and there were people from the current board that he did not want by his side. And that's no problem, it's his choice. But I did believe that we had to count on them, and this is one of the points where we couldn't reach an agreement.

So the differences were more about people than about the project.
Yes, the project is the one we have build and used since 2003. As for the sports area, we believe in the same structure: a sports director, a strong coach, a lot of investments in the youth academy... And regarding the economic area, we both agree on the global expansion of the club, on the search for new revenues in order to be able to pay the squad... We certainly agree on all this, whereas in the social area, I possibly would like to change some things, bringing us a bit come closer to the club member.

Xavier Sala i Martín explained a few days ago that during all the difficult moments the club has lived since 2003, Alfons Godall has always been in favour of what appeared to be the right decision. What was your position at those moments?
We've all supported the good and the bad decisions, because this is a board where everything is decided by common consent. We all have had the same responsibility regarding the management of these past seven years, Alfons, myself and the other directors, both those who are there now and those who aren't here anymore.

It bothers you that Laporta supports Godall?
I shouldn't have an opinion on that. He is free to do so. I understand it because they are lifelong friends and, in fact, this is one of the things that differentiate me from Alfons. He has a much stronger personal bond with Laporta.

At some times over the last years, Laporta made you think that he would support you as a leader of a single candidacy?
Frankly, we did never talk in those terms.

You were invited to assist the presentation of the candidacy of Godall?
I don't think so. I think they invited people by mobile phone messages and I didn't receive one. But I find it normal because such an event is not about inviting all pre-candidates.

From the directors who have not yet made a decision, you think one of them will end up supporting you?
The doors are open for them since they are all part of the many successes of recent years.

And we suppose people from outside the club will also be added to your list.
Yes, we believe that it is very important to bring in new people, who can give us renewed energy. There are people from various fields who are motivated to serve Barça.

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

Read more:
Ferrer: "Efficiency, discretion and renewal"
Boix will not choose between Godall and Ferrer
A first look at the project of Ferrer

interview : ferran correas and dani colmena

Majo, Minguella and Medina working on candidacy

Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu claims that former presidential candidates Jordi Majó, Jordi Medina and Josep Maria Minguella (picture, from left to right) are continuing to hold talks trying to form a joint candidacy and take part in the elections for president of FC Barcelona in June (read more here).

All three the former candidates would be willing to team up but no final decision has yet been made. After the Barcelona board decided to only hold the elections after the end of the season, on 13 June, Majó, Minguella and Medina would not be in a hurry to take a stand on their participation in the elections.

Jordi Majó is a 60-year old agricultural businessman who finished third, out of six candidates, in the 2003 elections. Behind Joan Laporta and Lluís Bassat, Majó obtained 2.490 votes (4,82%). In 2006, he considered to be a candidate but he ended up giving his support to Jaume Guixà.

Josep Maria Minguella, a 68-year old former player's agent who now mainly acts as a Barcelona pundit for a number of radio and television shows, took part in the 2003 elections, when he ended fifth with 1.867 votes (3,62%). The Catalan supported the 2008 vote of no confidence against the board.

Jordi Medina is a 45-year old Catalan lawyer who was a pre-candidate in the 2003 and 2006 elections but failed twice to collect enough signatures of club members to take part in the final vote. Medina is the chairman of 'Un Crit Valent', an FC Barcelona platform.

Read more:
Minguella confirms talks with Medina and Majo
Majo considering to participate in the elections
Medina confirms he's working on a candidacy

The Quote: Xavier Sala i Martin

"The one to beat is Alfons Godall, not Sandro Rosell."

Xavier Sala i Martín,
Barcelona treasurer

read more election quotes here

Monday, February 8, 2010

Benedito: "Board should be at same level as team"

Barcelona presidential candidate Agustí Benedito gave an interview to Catalan online paper El Singular Digital.

You were part of that project that won the 2003 elections. What went wrong that you now present an alternative candidacy?
Our idea is to recover that project, update it and renew it, because today it still is perfectly valid. The problem has been that Laporta and his board of directors have at a certain moment abandoned the road.

In what sense?
That model was based on the very clear idea that the club is owned by the club members and that leads to a high necessity of transparency, honesty, representation, ethical behaviour, integration and diversity. Laporta has distanced himself, and a lot, from these proposals during his mandate...

Go on...
Our first football team is at a unique level, unsurpassable. We must achieve that the board and the rest of the club is at the same level as the team.

Over the last years that wasn't the case?

When did the decline start?
Over the last period, especially the last two or three years, when it became clear in an explicit way that the board and Laporta himself have taken an other, totally different road.

Cases of espionage, an attempt to intervene in the sale of Mallorca, compromising pictures at a Barcelona night club. But do those things matter in the world of football when the results are good?
With other sports results, the perception of the mandate of Laporta would certainly have been different. We must remember that not so long ago, in the vote of no confidence of 2008, 60,27% of the club members asked him to leave. Laporta has had some episodes where he fell short of representing an entity that is so important for this country.

Some link those attitudes to an exaggerated ego. What do you think?
He has undergone a change. The Laporta I knew when all this started is very different from the one I know today. It is difficult to know the reasons. It's surely related to personal and more intimate issues, but I am unable to puzzle them out. The only thing I can verify is that this is a different Laporta than the one I have worked with for so many years.

Personal attitudes are enough to judge his management?
In the end, it is concepts like the lack of transparency and honesty, that really show that there has been a lack of representation during his time. Just as I said that he clearly passed the test regarding the overall management of the club, in this aspect he deserves a clear fail. He hasn't been up to the mark after the support he got from the voters in 2003.

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

Read more:
Benedito signs ex-campaign director Laporta
Introducing Benedito
Benedito: "Rosell has a different model"

interview: xavier march

Poll result: Who will you vote for?

Who do you plan to vote for in the elections on 13 June?

Sandro Rosell 33%
Ferran Soriano 11%
Alfons Godall 7%
Jaume Ferrer 4%
Jaume Llauradó 2%

Don't know 36%
Won't vote 4%
Other candidates 3%

total votes: 1000
date poll: 4 to 6 february 2010
poll method: telephone interviews with club members who have the right to vote, 95% certainty
source: gol

check more vote intention polls here
check more election poll results

Godall: "I'm giving up my private life"

Barcelona first vice-president and presidential candidate Alfons Godall gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu.

When did you decide to present your candidacy for president of the club?
I had reached a point where it was clear to me that I wanted to run and I thought it was necessary to end this state of uncertainty and speculation about whether I would do it or not.

There had been written and said things that were not true, and I wanted to make my position clear.

But when did you make the decision.
At the end of the month of November, before the holidays.

Someone from the board convinced you to make a step forward or everything was already clear to you?
It is true that both Joan Laporta as other board colleagues had asked me already for some time to consider it, but it was clear to me that I first had to think about it. Later, some changes in my personal life, like having a partner and expecting a baby, helped me because now I have a perspective of a more stable life.

Taking everything in account, it was finally my heart that decided. As the end of the mandate of Joan came closer, it got clear to me that it is worthwhile to run trying to continue this period of successes in all areas.

You didn't have doubts after seeing some bad personal experiences Laporta had to go through?
I've had doubts because the position is incompatible with having a quiet private life. Although I must also say that it is not necessary to have the public exposure that president Laporta has had.

But it is true that, although I'm looking forward to it, I'm making a step that includes entering a highly mediatized world and losing the privacy and peace of mind that a normal club member has when going to the stadium and behaving as he wants. In this position you are always in the public eye, you have to deal with a lot. This is a great club, a big company that produces and makes something very special: emotions.

You've already noticed many changes after the presentation of your candidacy two weeks ago?
I felt relieved, because I hadn't made my position public yet while on the other hand things became more and more clear to me. So making the step forward brought me peace of mind.

Some people think that now that you have made this step forward, announcing that you are indeed a pre-candidate, that you should resign from your post as vice-president of the club...
Well, I don't agree. The statutes of the club indicate very clearly the steps that need to be taken from now on. The electoral calendar will show when I should resign from my position and that depends on the date of the elections.

The directors who were at your presentation will be making up most of your candidacy?
Those who attended, were there in the first place as friends. Now, not everyone who was there will be on the list, some because they still have to think about it. I count with each and every one of them, minus Joan Laporta, who can not take part. I would love to be able to count on all of them, but I guess some will start other journeys.

So you're still not closing the door to a single candidacy coming from this board of directors then? Could Jaume Ferrer end up on your list?
I've always said that, when he wishes, I want to talk with Jaume Ferrer to try to form a project together, as long as it is led by me and I have guarantees that I can lead the club comfortably. The good government of the club is at stake. I do not want to be a prisoner of my board, I want them to stand by me. If Jaume understands and respects this, he can join us.

You would have liked Jaume Ferrer and other executives close to him to be there your presentation?
I can only say that if Jaume in the end runs and will present his candidacy at an event, I will be glad to attend if he invites me. I would be delighted to go there.

It might be a surprise that a person you know for so many years and who has been so important for you and for Joan Laporta as is Albert Perrín is now part of the pre-candidacy of James Ferrer. What happened between you?
I don't like to talk about individuals. I prefer talking about general situations. I want to have people in my list that allow me to govern the club in a calm and stable way. And I think that there are people with a more appropriate profile than others. There's nothing more to it.

Albert Perrín said in a recent interview that you are a sectarian person...
Frankly, I don't think so. I am a person with an open mind, although I have clear ideas. Also about who my fellow travellers should be.

You're afraid of a tough electoral process with low blows?
No. I know the people involved and although there may be conflicting feelings, we mutually respect each other. It will be a clean process.

this was the first part if this interview. you can read the second part here and the third part here.

Read more:
Godall: "I'm not the puppet of Laporta"
Business partner Laporta in candidacy Godall
Godall chosing campaign songs

interview: ferran correas and toni padilla

The Pundit: Miguel Rico on chances Guixa and Llaurado

« The chances of Jaume Llauradó and Jaume Guixà are the same as last time. None. Regulars in the line-up, they do not lose their dreams or hopes. Only time and money. »

Miguel Rico,
El Mundo Deportivo

Former vice-president Franquesa to support Ferrer

Asked about the rumours that former Barcelona vice-president Joan Franquesa (picture) would join his candidacy for the upcoming presidential elections (read more here), Barcelona assets vice-president Jaume Ferrer has said in an interview with Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio that Franquesa is willing to support him:

"Mister Franquesa left the board because he had some personal and professional problems to resolve. We have a great relationship and he knows the doors are open for him, and I know he wishes to join us."

Read more:
The resignation letter of vice-president Franquesa
A first look at the project of Ferrer
Former vice-president Franquesa to join Ferrer

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Laporta and Rosell contacted Cesc

Spanish television channel Antena 3 claims that Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fàbregas (22) has decided that, because of the lack of trophies won, he wants to leave the English Premier League club at the end of the season and join Barcelona.

Both Barcelona president Joan Laporta and Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell would already have contacted the entourage of Cesc, but the player reportedly doesn't want to be linked with any candidacy and would first try to convince Arsenal to let him go in the summer.

Catalan sports papers Sport, El Mundo Deportivo and El 9 Esportiu all claimed this week that Barcelona wants to sign Cesc before the end of the mandate of Laporta, who will leave the club on 30 June after seven years in office (read more here).

Asked about a possible return, Cesc meanwhile suggested in an interview with Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio that he could be willing to come back to Barcelona, the club he left as a youth player in the summer of 2003:

"I've never hidden that one day I would like to return to Barça. Since I was nine months old, I went to the Camp Nou. I spend my whole youth wearing those colours, but because of a series of circumstances I had to leave. You never know what can happen in the future, but during the coming four months I want to focus on my job at Arsenal."

Read more:
Guardiola will push candidates to sign Cesc
Transfer battle between board and Rosell
Rooney could become electoral transfer target