Sunday, November 29, 2009

More about Benedito: His reason for running

Barcelona presidential candidate Agustí Benedito has in the past weeks given several interviews to Catalan newspapers, radio stations and television channels. This blog will give an overview of what the Catalan businessman had to say.

As a preface you can read this blog's five-parts
introduction series on Benedito and the opinion piece he published earlier this month.

His reason for running
Since 1997, when I was part of the candidacy of Angel Fernández, I have in a way been linked to the club and during that time I have formed myself an idea about the club, how I think it should be or how I would want it to be. And after discussions with a lot of other people, we have now a clear project for Barça.

Because we think our model is different compared to the project of the current board as well as to the project that will probably be presented by Sandro Rosell, our group has decided to run. My vanity isn't really well-developed, so that's certainly not why I'm taking part in the elections. And I think my track record proves that.

Basic ideas
Besides what happens on the pitch and what this club means for Catalonia, the key characteristic of this club is that it's owned by the club members, which is unique in the world and which seems to have been forgotten by the last presidents of Barça. We will elaborate a concrete project based on some key principles, that might even be more important than the sporting results.

Ethics are the main thing. You can always make a mistake but ethics are essential. I think we can obtain the same results, but with a governance that is more transparent, more honest and more participatory. We propose to recover and to update the spirit we had in the year 2003, that was based on principles like transparency, honesty, participation and representativeness.

His campaign
Mid-July, a group of club members made the final decision to take part in the elections and that I would lead this candidacy. We thought that none of the other candidacies would represent the model we want for the club. Our project is very well thought through, very detailled, very concrete.

We have people responsible for the communication, a lot of people have responded to the video we put out (watch the subtitled video here), but we don't yet have a campaign director. We didn't yet decide what our slogan will be, although there are some ideas going around. We sure will try to communicate in a different, innovative way.

I cannot yet announce names of people that will be part of my team. I have been talking with everyone who could be important for the club: political parties, financial institutions, business people, journalists and so on. That was just about informing them, having a first contact and getting to know each other.

We plan to invest 500.000 euros in this campaign. If we don't win the elections, we will continue to work in the benefit of Barça but in that case from outside the club.

Possible opponents
Things aren't very clear yet. I think there certainly will be a continuity candidate. I have some doubts on Jaume Ferrer of whom I know that he also has some plans to present himself, but I think there will in the end be one unique board candidacy, probably lead by Alfons Godall. Then there's the candidacy of Sandro Rosell, there's mine. I don't really know if there will be others.

It's not clear what the group who left with Ferran Soriano in 2008 will do. I know that there are people who are very motivated to present their own project, so I think there might be another candidacy although probably not lead by Soriano but by another director who resigned together with him, maybe Albert Vicens.

Sandro Rosell? Sandro is a great Barça fan. What I don't like about him is that he also had the chance to contribute to the historical change of the club (read more in the second part of this series) but that he then decided to leave.

Xavier Sala i Martín? A good economist, recognized all over the world, who has recently decided to start talking about football. Alfons Godall? A good person, a great Barça fan, who is very - I would even say unlimitedly - loyal to Laporta.

The campaign
When you talk with people, it seems that it's already decided, but I don't think that's the case. It will depend on the campaign, on the results this season. I have talked with over 900 club members over the past months and I think that the race is very open.

I also sense that it will be a dirty campaign. I hope I am wrong because that wouldn't be good for Barça, but I have the feeling that people are very tense. We sure plan to campaign in a positive way, explaining our own project and proposals.

Personally, I don't think it's a matter of rivalry. It's very difficult to know the reasons why a club member will vote for a certain candidate so I start from the idea that there are no favourites and that the candidate who will seem the most credible one in the eyes of the voters, will win the elections.

this is the first part of a four-parts serie. you will be able to read the next parts in the coming days with benedito giving his opinion, among other things, on the continuation of manager josep guardiola and sports director txiki begiristain and on the plan to remodel the camp nou.

Read more:
Benedito: "It won't be a matter of two candidates"
Poll result: Can Benedito win the elections?
Barça, a 'wonderful rarity' (by Agustí Benedito)

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