Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rosell gives first interview ahead of elections

Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell gave his first interviews in years. It is published today by Spanish business paper Expansíon. Some excerpts.

Why does a person with so many activities want to be the president of Barça?, he is often asked.

"My father, who was the general director of Barça during the term of Agustí Montal [1969-1977], infected me with the love for football and Barça since childhood," he explains. "I want to be the Barça president because of Barça, not to have more relations or more power," he assures. "I already have the contacts I could get by being the president of Barça."

His family has tried to convince him not to take part in the elections because of the "media pressure" that comes with the post. Although he knows that the campaign "will be very tough", he hopes his life won't change. Rosell, who recalls with particular concern that Barça "put detectives at his home for two months" during the 2008 vote of no confidence against Laporta, doesn't want to discuss his relationship with the current president.

Rosell's passion for marketing and sports led him to found BSM, which takes fifty per cent of his time. The firm, specialized in advising on sports sponsorship, strategic sports marketing consulting and event management, has a turnover of six million euros. Among his clients, there's the Government of Qatar, for whom he has developed the Football Dreams project. "If I become the president of Barça, I will sell BSM", announces Rosell.

An earlier football project opened the doors of Nike for Rosell. "They made me a job offer that included a very specific task: to make a deal with Barcelona or Real Madrid," he says. After negotiating personally with Josep Lluís Núñez (of whom he recalls that he was "very hard and honest"), Rosell signed what "at that time was the best contract in Spain: ten million euros for ten years." Shortly after, Real Madrid got more from Adidas.

He refuses to talk about his personal life but he rebels when he is called 'a rich kid'. "My best friend is Andreu and he has fifty cows in La Seu d'Urgell [a small town in the Catalan Pyrenees]",he replies.

"Florentino Pérez appears that much in public? Josep Lluís Nuñez did?" Sandro Rosell avoids pronouncing the name of Joan Laporta, but it's clear that he is comparing these two models with that of the current president of Barça, who appears a lot in the media.

Rosell did the tests to join the club at the age of six, but he ended up playing with a fans' club. "I was a footballer, but a bad one. I managed to play in the third division, at L'Hospitalet, as a left winger", he says.

Rosell is very discreet about the club model he has in mind. But he reveals he wants a presidency with less visibility, part-time and with a strong man beside him as chief executive. Rosell says that he already knows the person who could fill that position, although he doesn't yet want to disclose the name. In his head, he already has the whole organization of the club and also the plan for Barça to reach a turn-over of 1.000 million euros in the future, when the crisis abates.

Read more:
The Rosell Project
Role Masfurroll in Rosell candidacy unclear
Team member Rosell talking about their project