Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sala: "Rosell was always on the wrong side"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

interview: ramón besa