Friday, December 18, 2009

Godall: "I have also been spied upon"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

interview: m.d. garcía and dagoberto escorcia