Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More about Benedito (2): On Laporta and Guardiola

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.

Laporta's reign
There are things he hasn't been able to do and there are things he hasn't wanted to do. He had a unique, historical chance to make an irreversible change but he lost track. Laporta has for some reason deviated a lot from the model of the Elefant Blau [former barcelona opposition group] and has been losing control lately.

In the seven years before he became president we had talked and discussed a lot about how the club should be led, about our model, what we wanted to change. On crucial themes, he hasn't been able to push through what we wanted.

We're then talking about transparency, especially the communication with the club members, about honesty and about participation, ways to get the club members more involved. There he failed.

In general, he clearly passed the test. I would give him a 6. But regarding certain issues, that were very important back in the days, he failed. So there might be some disappointment from my side, especially because most of this happened because he didn't want to change certain things. But where Laporta failed, there we will succeed.

If I will win, I will of course lift the veils of the Laporta era. It will be an exercise of transparency, something the club members deserve and have been waiting for for many years. I think it's an ethical and moral duty.

Well, what can I say? I'm a guardiolist. He has done an amazing, incredible job, that might be unsurpassable. As a club member, I don't think there's a better way for our team to continue like they're doing now, than by keeping Guardiola in charge.

So if I could decide, Guardiola would be there for many more years. In our sporting model concerning the first team, his place is assured. But I think that will be a decision that will mainly depend on Josep Guardiola. I sure think that Guardiola knows the club that well that he will be very careful not to intervene in the elections.

Salary chief executive Oliver
A possible 900.000 euros is four or five times more than the former general director Anna Xicoy, who did an excellent job in my opinion. So I think this is too much, it's disproportionate and I don't understand the change in the salary policy. If I'm chosen as the new president, the chief executive won't earn more than 400.000 euros.

Sale of the Mini Estadi site
In 2003, the promise that the team of Laporta has repeated the most was that we wouldn't sell one square meter of club property. For me, the 2003 program is still valid and so I'm against it. Club assets should only be sold in a crisis situation and that's not the case now.

Although I took part in a vote of no confidence against Josep Lluís Núñez, I can recognize that he considerably increased the assets of the club. And now I can only say that Laporta is selling what Núñez had bought.

Season tickets
Barcelona has over 184.000 club members, 100.000 of which cannot come to the stadium to watch the games, which is the main activity of the club. Some people have to wait ten years to be able to buy a season ticket.

All this should lead us to start thinking about how to deal with that. An option could be rotating season tickets, like is done by some English clubs.

Bank guarantee
We have this legal obligation, which is in my opinion a disadvantage for us compared with other clubs. As you know Barça and three other Liga clubs have decided not to change themselves in public limited companies, which means that our boards have to put down a bank guarantee that is worth 15 per cent of the club's budget while for the others it's only 5 per cent.

Of course that limits the possibilities for a lot of club members to become part of the board of directors. Because at this moment, with Barça's budget of 400 million euros that would mean a guarantee of around 60 million euros. Our candidacy has looked at it, we have contacted financial institutions to discuss things and as it's a legal obligation, we will cumply with it.

this is the second part of a four-parts serie. you can read the first part here. 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 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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