Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Pundit: Joan Vehils on Soriano-Godall deal

« Soriano and Godall will close a deal. The private polls will help to make the final decision on who of the two will be the leader. »

Joan Vehils,

Benedito putting emphasis on financial transparency

In an interview with this blog, Barcelona presidential candidate Agustí Benedito has made clear that one of the key points of his candidacy will be financial transparency. The former member of Barcelona' sports and social commissions gave two examples of how he wants to make this concrete during the campaign.

In the first place, Benedito wants to make public the personal estates of all the members of his board team. Besides that, the detailled costs of his campaign will soon be made available online: "I can also advance that when we will have launched our new website, we will start to implement the policy of transparency by publishing our accounts on there."

you will be able to read the full interview with agusti benedito next week.

Read more:
Benedito: "I don't plan to announce transfers"
Eighty percent of the voters still undecided
Benedito starts second phase of campaign

Sala wants to attract sponsor for Unicef logo

Speaking to Catalan radio station RAC 1 at a conference about sports leadership in Barcelona yesterday, Barcelona treasurer Xavier Sala i Martin has launched the idea that the candidacy led by Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall could close a commercial deal with a firm to sponsor the Unicef logo on the club's shirts:

"We have already talked with a company that would want to sponsor, not the shirt of Barça, but that would want to pay so Barça can continue with Unicef on the shirts.

They could then use this is their own marketing campaigns saying that they are the ones that make it possible that Barça continues to be the club of the children around the world through Unicef.

But so Barça would keep on playing with Unicef on the shirts and for us this would be another way to make profitable the co-operation with Unicef, that in my opinion is already profitable as far as the image of Barça in the world is concerned."

Read more:
Sala: "Presidential transfers are against our model"
Ferrer has biggest media impact
Sala: "Rosell wants to sell us a product"

Molins rejects offer to lead Minguella-Medina project

Spanish news agency Europa Press claims that Catalan lawyer Pablo 'Pau' Molins has rejected yesterday morning the offer to head the candidacy that is being set up by former Barcelona presidential candidates Josep Maria Minguella and Jordi Medina.

Molins is quoted as saying in a communiqué that, although he likes the idea of a 'third way', he declines the proposal because of professional and personal reasons that don't leave him enough time to campaign or to lead the club. Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that the criminal lawyer has nevertheless agreed to support the list.

Asked about the rumours linking Molins to his project, former player's agent Josep Maria Minguella has said in interviews with Catalan radio stations Catalunya Ràdio, first, and RAC 1 that he doesn't want to react to the latest news reports:

"Our group has made the decision that until the game against Real Madrid on 10 April we won't talk about or comment on any electoral issues. After that date, we will explain what we could do, who would be involved and so on, but for now we have decide not to talk anymore."

Read more:
Lawyer offered to lead Minguella-Medina project
Minguella project preparing primaries
Minguella-Medina project still looking for a leader

Lillo looking back at 2003 election campaign

In an interview with Catalan newspaper El Periódico, Almería manager Juan Manuel Lillo talked about the elections campaign of 2003 when he was, together with current Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola, part of the candidacy of Lluís Bassat:

"Pep called me and invited me to work with him. I never ask him what something is about. I don't even think about it. I go wherever needed. And when he proposed me to become the coach of Barça, what was there to think about! I also knew Lluís, so everything was very simple.

It is true that we focused all our attention on what we would do when we would win the elections, so that we didn't do anything to actually win. We were only thinking about and for Barça. That's Pep, more culé than the flag pole at the Camp Nou.

We didn't mention a single name, not regarding transfers, or coaches, or anything. We wanted that if people voted for us, it would be because of an idea, a project. We did not want the elections to be a catwalk of transfers. We maintained that policy, knowing it could play against us.

In the end, you think that if that was what the member decided, it just was not the right time for us to enter the club. Besides, all the people that were part of the candidacy - Lluís, Roca, Alemany, Pep - had very busy lives so that that the next day they just went on with what they were doing. Which is the proof of the integrity of all of them."

Read more:
Lillo would have been coach under Bassat
Could Guardiola be a future president?
Bassat: "Laporta invented Beckham transfer"

Friday, March 5, 2010

Guixa asks president Laporta to resign

Barcelona presidential candidate Jaume Guixà has today announced at a press conference that he wants Barcelona president Joan Laporta to step down as president because of his political involvement.

Below you find the translation of the letter he personally delivered at the club's offices this morning.

Dear Mr. Laporta,

As a club member of FC Barcelona and as a citizen of Catalonia I want to ask you, with all due respect, to resign as president of our club.

I have publicly stated that you have every right to engage in politics, and from a personal point of view I wish you success in your new endeavours, but I think it would be bad for the club that, during these hundred days that are left before the elections for the presidency of FC Barcelona, you would combine your position as candidate in the upcoming Catalan elections with, at the same time, continuing to represent a club that by definition has to be plural: the club is Catalan, above all, but is also global and belongs to all Catalans, regardless of their political views.

For all this, I want to formally ask you to put an end to this situation, which is, in my opinion, very harmful for FC Barcelona, although it could report you some benefits - especially regarding your fame - in your political project.

With all due respect and kind regards,

Jaume Guixà i Mora
Member of FC Barcelona

Read more:
Guixa: "Barça is a feeling"
The resignation letter of vice-president Franquesa
Guixa gets support of Spiderman

The Catalan Cave: Cristian Pulina (Eurosport)

in this section, we ask catalan and spanish sports journalists five questions about the elections for president of fc barcelona. today: cristian pulina from spanish news site eurosport.

1. You have publicly given your support to the candidacy of Alfons Godall? Why?
That's correct. Alfons Godall is part of the current and successful board, he therefore knows our way of working and Laporta also endorses his candidacy, so that's why I think that supporting him would be supporting the continuation of the work that has been done in the economic, sports and social area, and I think that the situation we are in now is difficult to improve. In my opinion, the continuity of the work is crucial in our success.

2. What would you do if in the end Ferran Soriano would head the continuity bid of Alfons Godall and Xavier Sala i Martín?
If Soriano would head the candidacy that would possibly be with the consent and the support of Godall, and so we would continue on the same path of "continuity" with a man of whom many, professionally, can only talk wonders. So yes, I would support that and in fact I would like it even better, because I believe that Soriano is very respected in the "Barcelona entourage", and that is very important to win.

3. What could change in the club if Sandro Rosell would be elected president?
Well, I cannot say things for certain, but I can not 100% trust a man who, when things went badly, wanted to impose his own views and distance Barça from the "philosophy" of Cruyff and fill the team with "names". The team was doing well with the "philosophy" of Cruyff and he didn't want to continue at Barça suggesting that he cares more about people listening to him and doing what he wants, than about the victories of Barça.

4. Some start to say that Agustí Benedito may be the surprise. Do you think that is possible?
I sincerely doubt that a lot.

5. Would Joan Laporta be re-elected if he could again run in the elections?
I think that if we would win "more than Madrid" this season and the basketball team at least manages to win the league title, he would win again, and by a landslide.

THE EXTRAS If you were a club member of Barça, who would you vote for or certainly not vote for?
I have been a club member of Barça, but I live far away and I put an end to it three or four years ago because I could not take advantage of the benefits. If I could, I would vote for Laporta. And if not, for Godall or for the "trio" headed by Soriano.

All your possessions are at stake. Give the top-3 of the elections on 13 June.
I think Rosell will win ahead of the “continuity group” that is now lead by Godall but that could end up being led by Soriano.

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

read the previous episodes of this series:
francisco ávila (efe) - miquel pellicer (el mundo deportivo) - edu polo (ona fm) - abraham clotet (sport) - victor lozano (onda cero) - sergi de juan (el 9 esportiu)

Rexach seriously considering to run for president

Asked if he, as promised, will take part in the elections now that a Facebook group in his support has reached the required number of 5000 members (read more here), former Barcelona player and manager Carles Rexach has said in an interview with Catalan television channel Canal Català that he is considering the option:

"It started as a joke but now I'm seriously thinking about it because a lot of important people are calling me to ask what I will do. It would be like the bellboy ending up as the general director. But there's still a lot of time left to analyze the pro's and the contra's. Now could be the right moment because it seems as if everything goes well and that only a couple of things should be adjusted.

If I put a step forward, it should in any case be with a serious project. Therefore you need a team with the same qualities as the players of Barça, all aces. It's not an ego thing because I've already overcome that. The president should in the end only be at the second or third row because the exits come through the coaches and the players."

In an interview with Spanish radio station Cadena SER, Rexach said: "Now I have to consider this. Although I like joking, I'm a serious guy and to take a decision like this one you need to analyze things because Barça is a very serious institution.

People like me can now consider running. Thirty years ago you needed a certain reputation, which I don't have, but the world has moved on and now everyone can take part if they fulfil the conditions set out by the statutes of the club. I admit I am surprised by how people react to this. When I'm going somewhere now, everybody calls me 'president'.

What I do know is that I wouldn't get involved in politics. For me, sports and politics should be separated because there's already enough politics in the world of sports. Alliances? I could reach an agreement with anyone because I have a good relationship with everyone, although I have the most contact with Sandro Rosell."

Read more:
Rexach has Facebook support he asked for
Llaurado admits talks with Minguella and Rexach
Poll result: Would Rexach be good president?

Ferrer doing photo session

On Tuesday, Barcelona assets vice-president and presidential candidate Jaume Ferrer had a photo session ahead of the elections in June.

The Quote: Emma Gamper

"What I like most about football is the international dimension, to be able to see the shirt of Barcelona all around the world. I want a Barça without borders, without labels, because in the world of sports there shouldn't be limits. Sport should unite people under a same flag, that of respect and collaboration to reach an objective."

Emma Gamper,
member of the candidacy of Jaume Guixà

read more election quotes here

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Minguella-Medina project still looking for a leader

Although all media sources agree that Catalan lawyer Pau Molins [picture] has been offered to head the candidacy that is being set up by former Barcelona presidential candidates Josep Maria Minguella and Jordi Medina (read more here), there is uncertainty about his reaction to the proposal.

Spanish news agency Europa Press claims that sources close to Molins confirmed that the lawyer, who feels "very related to the club", is thinking about the offer and that he wants to take the time necessary to make the decision, which could be more than one week.

Catalan newspaper El Periódico claims that Molins, who would be very interested in the proposal, will decide in one or two weeks time. The offer would have been made to him last week during a meeting with Minguella and a group of club members.

Catalan news site E-notícies claims that Minguella, Medina and Molins had a dinner on Thursday 19 February. The answer would be expected for next week. If Molins accepts the offer, Minguella would become the sports vice-president of the list and Medina the social vice-president.

A source close to the Minguella-Medina project confirmed yesterday evening to this blog that there has indeed been an offer but that Molins didn't yet give a final answer. We were also told that, contrary to previous news reports (read more here), Catalan businessman Jordi Roche, the former president of the Catalan football federation, would not be part of this project.

Spanish news agency EFE claims that it looks like the deal with Molins won't go through - despite a source of the project being quoted as saying that the lawyer would be "a very valid" candidate - because Molins wouldn't be able to combine the campaign with his job. His defense of Catalan business man Fèlix Millet in a major corruption scandal (read more here) could also play a role: "That wouldn't be positive publicity in case he would be our candidate."

The group would now keep on working to find a candidate and announce a name in the next two to three weeks, with the source explaining: "The offer to Molins doesn't mean that we already have a clear idea, because we still have to assess a lot of things, not only about the candidate but also about the rest of the team.

I want to make clear that we are not selling the leadership of our group by auction. We are just talking with a lot of people and, for whatever reason, the names of two [the other being that of catalan journalist xavier bosch] of the many members we have considered have been leaked to the public."

Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu claims that Molins already rejected the offer to lead the candidacy because of professional reasons – the Millet case and the opening of a new office in Madrid - but that he did accept to be part of the list. The group would continue to search for a prestigious consensus figure to become the candidate.

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Molins has already rejected the offer and that Medina and Minguella continue to look for a candidate that has never before been directly involved in an election process, although it's not excluded that one of the two would in the end be the candidate. The final list should be ready in April.

Medina is quoted by the paper as saying: "We want to assemble a project that could be a third way between laportas and anti-laportistas and that unites the Barcelona fans. That's why the choice of the candidate isn't a fight and won't turn into an auction. We're not in a hurry, there's a lot of pre-campaign and campaign left and we don't want to take part in the battles."

Read more:
Lawyer offered to lead Minguella-Medina project
Catalan journalist rejects offer to run for president
Medina will again take part in the elections

Zubizarreta is an option to replace Begiristain

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that former Barcelona goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta could become the new sports director of FC Barcelona this summer. At least three presidential candidates would see Zubizarreta as an option to replace current sports director Txiki Begiristain.

Begiristain would have decided to leave the club at the end of June and would publicly announce that decision in April, although current Barcelona vice-president and candidates Alfons Godall and Jaume Ferrer would still be hoping to convince him to stay. Godall would want Begiristain to continue for one more year to support the change of presidents.

Presidential candidates Jaume Guixà and Agustí Benedito have already said in an interviews that they don't wish to continue with Begiristain and the same is believed to be the case with former Barcelona sports vice-president Sandro Rosell.

The latter would have planned to offer Guardiola a role as general manager but would now have to change these plans because Guardiola has said he prefers to continue as coach. Therefore basically all candidates would at this moment be looking for a new sports director.

Andoni Zubizarreta was a Barcelona player from 1986, when he arrived from Athletic Bilbao, until 1994, when he left for Valencia. With Barcelona, the 48-year old won four consecutive Spanish leagues from 1991 to 1994, two Spanish cups in 1988 and 1990, two Spanish supercups in 1991 and 1992, one Champions league 1992, one Cup winner's cup in 1989 and one European supercup in 1992.

Since his retirement as an active player, Zubizarreta, who reportedly has a close relationship with Guardiola, has been acting as radio and television pundit. From 2001 to 2004, he was the sports director of Athletic Bilbao.

Zubizarreta was also, together with - among others - Real Madrid general director Jorge Valdano, one of the founders of
makeateam, a company that focuses on human resources training and consulting, of which he is currently still the vice-president.

Read more:
Txiki will leave at the end of season
Poll result: Should the sports director disappear?
Godall: "Txiki will be my sports director"

Guixa: "Barça is a feeling"

Barcelona presidential candidate Jaume Guixà attended last week a live chat organized by Spanish online newspaper Diario Crítico.

Why would a man with a career and a good position want to become the president of a football club, out of vanity?
Because I am the president of a Barcelona fan club, in my town, Sant Cugat del Vallès, and I want to give Barça back to its rightful owners, the 173.800 club members.

What do you think about the management of Laporta? You recognize that in the sports area he has been flawless?
He has been flawless in the sports area, thanks to the fact that Pep Guardiola, together with his staff, has been able to isolate the players from a politicized institutional position which is contrary to what his voters in 2003 wanted.

Why should I vote for you?
Our candidacy is the only one that doesn't come from the laportism. We offer a new and renewed option.

Are you prepared to become president?
I'm ready and I have a great team of people in my candidacy to deal with situations of risk that undoubtedly will come. I can count on Emma Gamper, Joan Segarra, Mercè Morales and Jaume Sobrequés and I will soon present other specialized professionals in different sectors who will be an added value.

How do you look at the world of football, the wages aren't too high, and even more so in the current times of crisis?
We will have to analyze the costs, although it is a situation marked by the law of supply and demand.

Will you announce a star signing to attract some more votes or you won't play it that way?
The important thing about the candidacy I'm heading won't be the transfers or some fax announcing them, but the overall project. Although we really like Cesc and he wants to return to Barça. On the other hand, we are convinced of the importance of strengthening the youth academy and to avoid the exit of talented youth players.

How do you want to improve the animation in the stadium, for example through a youth area? And what do you want to do with those who have always animated Barça the most, the Boixos Nois?
All groups are welcome, when they are respecting the civic norms that are in place in a football stadium.

What do you think about the reclassification of the Miniestadi?
As I have already said publicly, I am totally opposed to the disappearance of the Miniestadi, as this should be the place where our youth players can gain experience before making the step to the first team.

Will you continue with the Foster project?
The Foster project doesn't make sense because the stadium is already considered to be a five stars facility. Yes to the modernization of the stadium (toilets, accessibility, stands, etc.), but no to the light pollution that would be caused by a project like that of Foster.

Do you think that Barça is more than a club?
Without any doubt it is, in several areas: sports, socially, artistically, regarding the fan clubs. Barça is a feeling.

this is the second and last part of the chat session. you can read the first part here.

Read more:
Guixa: "Barça can sign any player"
Three 'Dream Team' players in candidacy Guixa
Guixa gets support of Spiderman

Ribery rejects approach Rosell

Madrid sports tabloid As claims that Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell has been trying to close a deal with Bayern Munich attacker Franck Ribéry (26) but the player would not be interested in a move to Barcelona (read more here).

Rosell would like Ribéry to be one of the new faces of his project if he's elected as president in June but despite several calls to Bayern Munich and attempts to convice the Frenchman, Ribéry would reportedly only want to join Real Madrid in the summer.

Read more:
Candidate has deal with Ribery
Transfer battle between board and Rosell
Polls lead to Cesc transfer rumours

Most read of the month

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Businessman linked with Nunez to run for president

Spanish radio station Radio Marca claims that Catalan businessman Juan Manuel Alcaraz has made the decision to take part in the elections for president of FC Barcelona in June of this year.

Alcaraz would have been sounded out by all the other candidacies to join them but would in the end have decided to run for president with an own project that reportedly has the strong support of a group of Catalan business people.

The new presidential candidate would have an excellent social and economic network and is said to be a close friend of former Barcelona vice-president Josep Lluís Nuñez i Navarro, the son of ex-president Josep Lluis Nuñez.

Juan Manuel Alcaraz is a 42-year old entrepreneur from the construction sector. Since 2007, he is married with Spanish television presenter Alejandra Prat.

Read more:
New candidates getting ready to appear on stage
Former president Nunez to run with support Cruyff
Former candidate Angel Fernandez will not run

Rexach has Facebook support he asked for

The Facebook group that was created after former Barcelona player and manager Carles Rexach had said on a television program that he will run for president of FC Barcelona if such a group would gather 5.000 members (read more here), has yesterday evening reached the required number.

The group on Facebook, that is called "Carles Rexach: Si som 5.000 em presento" [Carles Rexach: If we are with 5.000, I will run], meanwhile keeps growing and has now already more than 5.300 members. Rexach himself so far didn't react to the news.

The 63-year old Catalan, who has mainly been working as a football pundit since he left the club in 2003, was a Barcelona player from 1967 to 1981, coached the team on three occasions as caretaker and was the manager of the team during the 2001-2002 season.

Read more:
Ex-coach Rexach considers running for president
Rexach has almost enough Facebook support
Poll result: Would Rexach be good president?

The three areas and vice-presidents of Rosell

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell would want to restructure the club and divide it in three main areas: a sports area, an economic area and a social area.

Each area would be headed by a vice-president who would have the support of several board members (see below). The list of directors is nonetheless not yet finalized and will be enlarged in the coming weeks.

Sports area
This area would deal with everything related to the club's sports policy, including the youth academy, Barça Atlètic, the non-football sports sections and the medical department, which should become a world-wide reference.

Former Barcelona director Josep Maria Bartomeu, who left the club together with Rosell in June 2005, would become the sports vice-president. He would be assisted by Javier Bordas, Jordi Mestre and former director Jordi Monés.

Economic area
This area would include issues like marketing, assets administration and broadcasting rights.

Former Barcelona director Xavier Faus, who left the club shortly after Rosell in June 2005, would become the vice-president if he can combine this with his professional life. He would be assisted by Carlos Vilarrubí, Josep Ramón Vidal, former director Jordi Moix and Manel Arroyo.

Social area
This area would include the relations with the fans, the club members and the fan clubs, as well as the functioning of the club's foundation.

Jordi Cardoner, the grandson of former Barcelona vice-president Nicolau Casaus, would become the social vice-president. He would be assisted by Ramón Pont, Josep Maria Prat and Pilar Guinovart.

all people mentioned above were already discussed in parts 3 and 4 of this blog's "the rosell project" series that was published in october of last year. to know more about the background of these people, you can read the series

Read more:
MotoGP businessman part of board team Rosell
The Rosell Project - Part 4: The Board (2)
Internet entrepreneur joins Rosell candidacy

Lawyer offered to lead Minguella-Medina project

Catalan television channel TV3 claims that the candidacy former Barcelona presidential candidates Josep Maria Minguella and Jordi Medina have been working on continues to look for a popular person who could lead the project (read more here).

The group of Minguella and Medina would now have offered 47-year old Catalan criminal lawyer Pau Molins (picture) to head the list, although no final decision has yet been made.

Pau Molins is at this moment widely known for his defense of Catalan businessman and former Barcelona director Fèlix Millet in a major corruption scandal (read more here). His brother, businessman and politician Joaquim Molins, has in the past reportedly also been offered to lead a candidacy, ahead of the 1997 elections.

Read more:
Minguella project preparing primaries
Former director Millet considers being candidate
Medina continues to work on candidacy

The Pundit: Joan Josep Pallas on effect on Guardiola

« It is true that Guardiola knows how to shield the squad but the question is who shields him, who is too culé not to get indignant (in private) or not to let him be influenced by the insults that some pre-candidacies are already exchanging, also those who belong to the current board of directors. And who knows what's to come. »

Joan Josep Pallàs,
El Mundo Deportivo

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Former director Castells considering election role

Asked about the rumours that he could again run for president of FC Barcelona in the upcoming elections (read more here), former Barcelona vice-president Joan Castells has confirmed in an interview with Spanish television channel TVE that he is analyzing how he could take part:

"I'm sincerely thinking about it, together with other people who helped me in the Barça elections before. We are discussing if, seeing how the situation is now, we really want to do something or support someone, because we have received proposals. We sat around the table but at this moment nothing concrete has been decided.

I think we are a group of people with a lot of experience and knowledge about the world of football. We could add something, there are several options and we are looking at the issue. Talks with Rosell, Ferrer, Godall? Well, we are talking with a lot people.

We think it might be a good moment. As far as I'm concerned, because of the age I have, if I don't do it now, I will probably never do it again. Because you should also take into account that the mandates will now be for six years and who knows what will happen then.

Barcelona is a very important club in the world so you need people who have a certain knowledge about things, who know the club from inside, who know how to deal with the pressure. So we could work together, participate, help other people. Or lead an own candidacy. But nothing has been decided."

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:
Former vice-president Castells considering to run
Opposition figure offered place in candidacy
Llaurado confirms that he will run

Oliver: "My bags are ready from day one"

Barcelona chief executive Joan Oliver gave an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport. Some excerpts.

Until when will you be at Barcelona?
Until tomorrow if that's necessary. My vision is very simple. I'm not tied to Jan Laporta.

Your time at the club will end together with the mandate of Laporta?
I have a labour contract and like everyone here that's for an undefined period. The club and I both can put an end to it in certain situations, like a change of the board.

And that means that...
I haven't considered leaving. But my bags are ready from day one. It's almost twenty years now that I'm working at high-profiled positions and that I'm dealing with controversy. I left all these jobs from one day to another. I know I'm around as long as it lasts. You can only do this job if you are ready to leave tomorrow.

You will follow Laporta in a possible move to the Catalan government?
With him? Who do you take me for? Never in my life I have thought about what I will do later. I've never thought about getting involved in politics. And now I don't see myself joining the project of Jan.

Will you stay if Soriano or Godall become president?
I don't worry about it and I'm not thinking about that. My job is exciting and when I leave I will keep on being happy. My bag is ready from day one and who doesn't want to understand this is wrong. Everything I do depends on the confidence of the president and his board. When I don't have that, I will say thanks and up to the next job.

Read more:
Chief executive obstacle for one board candidacy
Barçagate (2) - Emergency press conference
Cartoon: Oliver denies spying claims

interview: albert masnou - tomás andreu

The Catalan Cave: Sergi De Juan (El 9 Esportiu)

in this section, we ask catalan and spanish sports journalists five questions about the elections for president of fc barcelona. today: sergi de juan from catalan sports paper el 9 esportiu.

1. What will Ferran Soriano do?
I think that Ferran Soriano will run in the elections but he won't define his position until he has finished his job at Spanair and I don't think that will take long. Personally I think that he will join the continuity candidacy of Godall and that they are still negotiating. It is anyway clear to me that or he will be the number one or he will take part on his own.

2. Rosell's decision not to speak until the official calling of the elections is the right one?
Since the motion of no confidence was presented, Sandro Rosell has been working (in silence) to reach the presidency of FC Barcelona. Everything is very well calculated and prepared. I guess that if he still hasn't publicly presented his project, that is because that is what his advisors have recommended him but I think that he will do it soon because the date of the elections is now known (13 June). He also doesn't need to come out in public quickly because the club member of Barça already knows him and Sandro has been meeting during all this time with fan clubs and various club members.

3. How many candidates will there be on the ballot paper on 13 June?
I think there will be three candidacies if they all keep their word and don't make big alliances between them. The two continuity candidacies (Soriano+Godall and Jaume Ferrer) and that of Rosell. For the other pre-candidates, and those who will come out in the future, it will be very difficult to obtain the signatures.

4. Will Jaume Ferrer continue with his own candidacy?
There is speculation that he could close a deal with the group of Sandro Rosell, but he has said on more than one occasion that he intends to take part on his own. With the passage of time, we will see what he will do although at this moment he is working to run alone and he has an own campaign team.

5. Do you think it will be a tough campaign, between the candidates and/or in the media?
Unfortunately I think so. As it's clear not much will be changed regarding the sports area (they will all keep Guardiola), old personal grudges can get involved because most come from the board that won in 2003. Let's hope, for the good of the club and its image, that the candidates will talk about projects and that they don't play it dirty. It will be difficult.

THE EXTRAS As a club member of Barça, who will you vote for?
I still don't know it. First I have to know all the options and all the projects.

All your possessions are at stake. Give the top-3 of the elections on 13 June.
Right now all the polls say that Sandro Rosell goes ahead but you can never trust them completely ...

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

read the previous episodes of this series:
francisco ávila (efe) - miquel pellicer (el mundo deportivo) - edu polo (ona fm) - abraham clotet (sport) - victor lozano (onda cero)

Weekly Round-Up (14): The Waiting Game

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

New candidates are reportedly getting ready to enter the race for Barcelona president although the claims are somewhat unclear on whether these would be part of or separate from the various projects that have been reported in recent weeks.

Possible candidacies repeatedly mentioned include those of Catalan journalist Xavier Bosch, who again claimed that he has been offered to head a ticket, and former Barcelona player Carles Rexach, whose Facebook challenge is reportedly gathering momentum. Catalan journalist Josep Maria Minguella also recently confirmed that his group is organizing primaries and could announce a concrete candidacy soon.

>>> read the complete weekly round-up here

The Quote: Albert Perrin

"I might agree with the statement that Alfons Godall could in the end team up with Ferran Soriano. I know Godall for many years and he's someone who has difficulties to deal with the pressure."

Albert Perrín,
Barcelona institutional vice-president

read more election quotes here

Monday, March 1, 2010

All options are still open for Soriano

Asked if he will take part in the elections for president of FC Barcelona in June, former Barcelona economic vice-president Ferran Soriano has said in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC 1 that he is now thinking about what his role could be in the upcoming elections:

"I dont think this is the moment to make a lot of electoral noise. What the candidates are doing now is presenting themselves to the people, showing their face, talking a bit, but in my point of view things will really get interesting when people will explain their projects, when they will bring forward their ideas about what they want to do with Barça, the club we all love.

But so there's a lot of time left for that and I think it's better for everyone that we don't make too much noise now but that we instead have a lot of intense debates when the moment is there. But of course I respect the choice of everyone, this is just my opinion.

There's little truth in the rumours that link me to the candidacy of Alfons Godall. I know Alfons Godall because I have been many years at Barça together with him. To me, he seems an intelligent, honest and capable man. Just like I know Jaume Ferrer, who has also been there for quite a while. I'm talking with them, but there won't be anything concrete before everything starts.

Running for president, being part of a candidacy or staying at home and not taking part in an active way? All options are open for me at this moment. My focus on and my work for Spanair over the last month hasn't allowed me to think about other things.

Now I could do that and everything is possible. What you can expect from me is that I will take part in a constructive way, in favour of the club. I want to help Barça because I love this club a lot, like all of us. And fratricidal wars in the end don't help a lot.

I can clearly say that it's false that I would have signed a document that I could not take up a task at FC Barcelona while being the chairman of Spanair. It wouldn't make sense since my position at Spanair is compatible with other positions. And there are many examples of that.

Traditionally, the president of Barça or of Madrid is someone who also does something else to earn money. Like I said, there are many examples. Nothing happened to the company of Josep Lluís Núñez while he was president of Barça, noting happened to ACS because Mister Pérez is currently the president of Real Madrid, and so on.

Let's not forget that the president, the vice-presidents and the other directors of Barça don't get paid, so you need something besides that. As a consecuence, I could combine the post of president of Barça with that of chairman of Spanair. Nobody at Spanair has said me that I couldn't do that, and that wouldn't be reasonable either.

How is my current relationship with Barcelona president Joan Laporta? Correct. And with Sandro Rosell? I haven't seen or talked with Sandro for years now. In fact, there's a big difference between the two cases. I have worked toghether with Laporta for five years and Sandro has only been there for a very short period."

Read more:
Soriano could lead united board candidacy
What will the original 2003 board members do?
Soriano repeats wish to play role in elections

Ferrer has biggest media impact

A study by the Economics, Sport and Intangibles Research Group of the University of Navarra in Spain shows that Barcelona assets vice-president Jaume Ferrer is the presidential candidate who so far has got the most attention of the media.

As far as the period April 2009-February 2010 is concerned, Ferrer has received 25% of the media attention. Former sports vice-president Sandro Rosell and current first vice-president Alfons Godall are second and third in the ranking, with respectively 23,5% and 22,6%.

Barcelona treasurer Xavier Sala i Martín (9,8%), former economic vice-president Ferran Soriano (8,3%) and presidential candidates Jaume Guixà (6,6%) and Agustí Benedito (4,1%) are the other people who were included in the study. It should also be noted that the media impact of Barcelona president Joan Laporta was three times as big as that of Ferrer.

The study does not only take into account the appearances of the candidates in the traditional media but also includes the mentioning on websites, blogs and so on. The research group plans to follow the Barcelona elections and to measure the media impact of the candidates during the whole campaign.

Read more:
Ferrer: "Focus on America, Asia and Africa"
Media mogul rejects election involvement
Marketing expert: "It will be an Obama-type campaign"

Election program Rosell almost ready

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona presidencial candidate Sandro Rosell has almost finished his election program after numerous contacts with Barcelona fans and fan clubs.

Ninety per cent of the project of the former Barcelona sports vice-president would at this moment be ready and more contacts with people from the entourage of the club are planned for the months of March and April.

Catalan sports paper Sport meanwhile claims that Rosell will in the coming two weeks announce where his campaign headquarters will be. The offices would be situated very close to the Camp Nou stadium, although the option of the Princesa Sofia hotel would in the end have been excluded.

Read more:
Rosell could present project year after goal Iniesta
A biography of Sandro Rosell
Rosell: "Sport is a passion and a way of living"

Poll result: 13 June is a good election date?

Do you think 13 June is a good date to hold the Barça elections?

Yes 73%
No 27%

total votes: 5222
start date poll: 29 january 2010
poll method: internet, free participation
source: sport

The Pundit: Jordi Evole on the election process

« I am still unable to understand how after the most brilliant era of the club, the dream of social peace hasn't been realized. It might have been more boring, but we wouldn't have to go through elections that only bother. »

Jordi Évole,
El Mundo Deportivo

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Guixa: "Matches should be played at 3 or 5 pm"

Barcelona presidential candidate Jaume Guixà attended last week a live chat organized by Spanish online newspaper Diario Crítico.

Laporta dealt in a very good way with the radical fans, even at the risk of his own life. We must recognize that and it is to be assumed that you will keep them away from the stadium. But until recently, presidents, including those of Barça, pampered them. What do you think of this shameful support?
As Barcelona fan and president of a fan club, I think that the passion for our club, which is Barça, should be above everything and people should comply with the law, so those who are not doing that should be marginalized. People who are going go to a football game should have fun and not worry about their safety.

Is there envy - healthy or unhealthy - towards Barça in Spain? What will you do to fix it, if something can be done?
I don't think there's envy. I think that Barca is a mirror in which all clubs would want to see themselves reflected, both because of the quality of the technical staff as because of the attitude of the players.

Do you have any ideas to improve the quality of the league? The fans need to have more competition, it shouldn't just be Madrid vs Barça. And things shouldn't be dominated that much by the television channels.
I totally agree with you regarding the two questions. The Spanish league should generate the same uncertainty of the Bundesliga or the Ligue 1, where the champion is not known until the end of the season. Among other things, one problem is that many Spanish teams are in debt and unable to pay for better players, while others - like Madrid - are breaking the market with galactic signings. As for the televisions, we will have to take care of the fact that the fans should be able to come to the stadium, so the matches should be played at 3 or 5 pm, and only occasionally at 10 pm, not like now when it's just the opposite.

Do you think that you have a chance against Sandro Rosell?
I present myself as the alternative to the laportism, since all the other candidates have been linked to Laporta or the 'Elefant Blau' at some point. Starting from that, we all will have to present a project and it will be the club member who, with his vote, will decide.

What transfer policy will you follow if you will be elected as president?
As I have publicly stated, we are in full season, playing for the league and the Champions League, and to not hinder the technical staff or the players' squad, I will not comment on this issue until the end of season.

Will you de-politicize the club if you become president?
We must make a difference between the citizen Joan Laporta and the president of FC Barcelona, who has to represent all club members with their different ideologies. The club cannot and should not be politicized.

What is best thing Laporta has done? And the worst thing?
The best was his courageous decision to promote a fourth-division coach without experience to the first team. The worst are many issues, but I would highlight his constant non-compliances from the time when he led the 'Elefant Blau' platform until today.

Would you want to have friendly relations with Real Madrid or the 'gigantism' of Florentino is an obstruction to that?
Barça, which is a universal and inclusive club that is competing in the Spanish League, should represent their members and fans in a dignified manner when dealing with a sporting rival no matter who that is, Real Madrid or Espanyol.

Don't you think that the importance of football in the news reports and the huge amounts of money spent by the clubs, who in general have a lot of debts, are excessive?
I do not think the media coverage is excessive, because the role of football in today's society is very important. But I do think there's too much money spent by the clubs and I am especially sensitive and deeply concerned about the economic situation of my club, Barça. I honestly do not see it clearly. I want to know the situation in detail and to propose a solution. In the candidacy I'm heading, we are working very hard to be able to solve things.

this is the first part of the chat session. you can read the second part here.

Read more:
Guixa: "Barça can sign any player"
Three 'Dream Team' players in candidacy Guixa
Guixa gets support of Spiderman

Most read of the week

In our model, the coach coaches (by Alfons Godall)

Barcelona first vice-president and presidential candidate Alfons Godall published this week an opinion piece in Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu.

"The coach has to coach, I cannot be everywhere, I cannot handle everything", replied Pep Guardiola on 20 January when they asked him if he would like to become the general manager of Barça. The words of Guardiola close, as I understand, an important debate about the model we want for FC Barcelona.

Let's talk about the role of the sports director and the coach, two positions of such importance and responsibility that they must be kept separated to allow the club to continue the successes of the last years. And there are many reasons that give meaning to the sincere reflection that Pep Guardiola expressed aloud.

Firstly, the immense dedication of the current coach towards the first team is incompatible with the sports planning on the medium and long term. Everyone understands that the coach, who must deal with the day-to-day issues, cannot be analyzing, for example, videos of the next opponent while at the same time watching summaries of other leagues to track down players who could be interesting for the next seasons.

Secondly, the sports director should report regularly on the football events of the club to the president, the board of directors, the delegate commission or the general assembly. The coach should be on the pitch with the players and so he cannot be at the same time at the offices to inform the leaders of the club.

The third reason is that the sports director must ensure the continuity of the sports project when things happen like the change of a coach. The club has won six cups one year after changing the coach. This was only possible because we maintained the continuity of the sports model through the sports director. The history and the experiences of other clubs show that when there is no well-defined philosophy, you move in all directions and the sporting successes don't come.

Fourthly, the sports director is the one who takes care of key tasks such as the signing of players, who manages the bonuses, the wages and the extras of the players. While the coach has to take care of the immediate result, the sports director has to worry about the two or three following seasons.

Pep Guardiola and Txiki Begiristain (and also Frank Rijkaard) have won league titles and Champions Leagues as players and as managers, and they know better than anyone how the club works. The coordination between the coach and the sports director has been the key that has led Barça to the best moments in its history. Changing this dynamics would be a clear dismantling of a model that is admired around the world.

In the upcoming elections, the Barcelona world must choose between several options and put their trust in the project they consider to be the most appropriate one. But don't let them fool you. What is at stake is not just the president, but something that is much more important: an idea about the club, a management philosophy, a sports model.

Regarding the pre-candidacy I'm leading, I've made clear my wish to keep the model that has given us so many successes. Our model will not be that of Ferguson of Manchester, but that of the Barça of the six cups. And the model of the Barça of the six cups has separated and will continue to separate the positions of the sports director and the coach. Because in the model of the Barça of the six cups, the sports director has to plan and the coach has to coach.

Read more:
Godall: "Txiki will be my sports director"
Barça, a 'wonderful rarity' (by Agustí Benedito)
Sala: "Rosell wants to sell us a product"

New board member will join for three months

Speaking at the press conference after Friday's board meeting, Barcelona chief executive Joan Oliver has said that Barcelona president Joan Laporta wants to add a new director to the board ahead of the elections in June:

"The president would want a eminent lawyer to join the board to ensure the transparency during the electoral process. This person would become a member of the board of directors for the last three months of the current mandate."

Read more:
New board member to be appointed this month
Godall and Ferrer no longer part of 'core board'
Probable new director helping Benedito campaign