Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo.
Will you run for president?
We are working on a candidacy for a long time now. We did not yet decide who will lead it, I'm one of the options, but we have a meeting coming up and within a very short term - two or three weeks - we will present our project.
When you say "we", do you refer to the entire board or to a part of it?
To a large group, because Jaume Ferrer already announced his intention to run. That is legitimate and respectable, but from my perspective his project is not the continuity project because he represents a minority in the board. It remains to be seen if he will get the support of the current president. Without wanting to start an argument, I think that our group will have more experience and more knowledge of the model.
Do you look forward and do you think you are prepared to be president?
For all those who are Barcelona fans through family transference and didn't have the talent to play football, being the president of Barça is something very exciting. However, this feeling is a necessary condition but is not enough. You must also have a good program, leadership skills, financial resources, etcetera.
Define your project.
We go for the continuation of a successful sports model, that is working for some years now and that is in our opinion the heir to the 'Dream Team', both regarding the way of playing and the presence of homegrown players. From the economic point of view, we think there are very clear opportunities to increase the budget. With a six-year term ahead, the objective is to reach a budget of 1.000 millions [the budget for the 2008-2009 season was 385 millions, the expected budget for the 2009-2010 season is 405 millions].
How is it possible that with so many sporting successes the current board cannot form a single list?
I have a very simple explanation. I insist that Jaume and those close to him have every right to run, but I think that experience is a value. Leading Barça is not easy, the statutes say that there must be between 14 and 21 directors and if in December 2003 a certain sector of the board would have had a majority, Rijkaard would have been dismissed against the will of the president. A board cannot be a 'puzzle', you must have a united group that backs the president so he has enough room to maneuver in difficult times. A president cannot be the prisoner of his own board, he needs freedom to lead. Therefore we cannot accept claims about a certain number of vice-presidents or directors, those are unacceptable conditions.
One understands that you have already discussed this with Jaume Ferrer.
Yes, but we haven't find an agreement. We would like to have only one candidacy, but I insist that if the conditions make the possibility of having a homogenous group more difficult and make it not possible that the candidate has a wide and comfortable majority, well ok, 'Visca el Barça' and that each one runs alone.
How can it be that with so many trophies, the favourite is not part of the board?
I guess you refer to Sandro Rosell, but I don't share the opinion that he's the favourite. So far, we've not carried out opinion polls and until now there weren't other options in the mind of the Barcelona fans. We will have to see how the member reacts when other alternatives are presented. I truly believe that if there be will be a favourite candidate, it will be the one that comes from the experience of a model, that is functioning very well. I don't think that coming in and changing what already works and has worked and doing that out of resentment is the best alternative, nor the most appropriate one.
The basis of your program will be to give continuity to what has been done, of course.
To continue and to take it further. Quite frankly, these seven years have seemed very short to us. Between coming in and getting to know the place... These seven years are over very quickly. The results of the youth academy and the way of playing in football, the right decisions in basketball, the great work with the handball, hockey and futsal teams. But there are also future opportunities in television rights, in assets management... We want Barça to go for the maximum, and when I say this it also means that we want to reach a budget of 1.000 millions in six years.
How will you distinguish yourself from the model of Laporta?
Especially regarding the person who will be in charge and the style. Neither the president nor the board should intervene too much, but have to supervise the work of the executives. And obviously the way of representing the club will be different because we are different people and have different ways of doing things.
You have repeated several times that you want 'Un Barça a mil' [a barça at thousand an hour]. Will that be your slogan?
No. We're considering several options, but it's true that this might be a good motto.
What haven't you been able to do in those seven years?
The institutional and social stability. We have suffered too much instability, a product of 22 years, plus an appendix of three years, of doing things in a certain way, which made it difficult to accept the change.We for example couldn't end the first term in a normal way [in 2006, laporta was forced to call elections, despite not yet having served a full four-year term]. We want more social and institutional harmony.
Don't you think that you yourselves have also contributed to this instability?
I agree. All of us, those who started, those who left at different times and even those who joined in later, should have done better and we want to do better.
Laporta will be key in these elections and in the future of the club?
I am convinced that he will play the role he has to play and that he will be an outgoing president who supervises the election process in a just and equal way. I think he could do very well in a role of club ambassador, we won't find anyone better than him, but we have not talked about that with him.
this was the first part of the interview. ypu can read the second part here with godall talking - among other things - about the continuation of guardiola and txiki and a possible transfer of cesc.
The five vice-presidents of Godall
Poll result: Who should be the next president?
Godall: "Laporta is like a brother to me"
interview: roger torelló