Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall and Barcelona treasurer Xavier Sala i Martín gave an interview to Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
Why do you want to be the president of Barcelona?
Godall: A magnificent era in the history of Barça, with spectacular sporting, economic and social results, is about to come to an end. The mandate of Joan Laporta will end and it would be a pity that this era would stop just like that, while we see great opportunities for further progress in all areas.
Sala i Martín: In addition to the fact that everybody likes him, Alfons was always on the right side of the decisions.
And you, Mr. Sala i Martín, would you have liked to be president?
Sala i Martín: Any Barcelona supporter who is not capable of playing in the first team, as is the majority, and to score a goal in the Champions League final, would like to be president. Everybody would like that.
Would your professional life change a lot if your candidacy wins?
Godall: I studied economics, I am a modest colleague of Xavier Sala i Martín, and I devoted myself to manage family businesses that are related to real estate. Things are going well, we have been fortunate to avoid the housing crisis because we have always been very cautious. With respect to Barça, things are very clear. I know I will have to continue spending many hours to Barcelona, but also that we want to make progress in the professionalization of the club. We want to delegate the daily management of the club to a team of high-skilled executives who are the ones who will do the main job.
With a chief executive like Joan Oliver at the head?
Godall: Joan Oliver is not under discussion. He has closed the past year with profits, in a situation of a serious general crisis, without selling players or assets.
Sala i Martín: And, moreover, spending dozens and dozens of millions in bonuses because we have won everything. Despite the bonuses, the wage variables, on which we have spent more than 50 millions, and the economic crisis that affects the whole world, Barça has been profitable.
Do you think that in a time of economic crisis, the club member may be annoyed about the salary of Joan Oliver [900.000 euros including incentives]?
Sala i Martín: Does anyone know what the salary is of the chief executive of Madrid? Or the one of Manchester? In this past year, Barça has saved around six millions in expenses. And that has been done by the chief executive. Do you think that it is worth it to pay 600.000 euros to someone who reduces the costs with six millions? In addition, the salary of 900.000 euros includes all the bonuses.
What will be the political positioning of the club in case you win the presidency?
Godall: Barça and the country have a common commitment regarding the Catalan identity. Barça has to be a tool to promote, to teach and to let people around the world know about the Catalan national reality.
The mandate of Joan Laporta has been characterized by strong political activism.
Sala i Martín: But what is meant by political activism?
That there are events at the Camp Nou, like Correllengua [campaign to promote the use of the catalan language].
Sala i Martín: When the Catalan government, regardless of the political party in power, asks the club to defend the Catalan language, I don't think this is something political, but about defending something that is so linked with Catalonia as the language.
Godall: This is what we call 'forming a nation'.
Sala i Martín: Forming a nation. Having said that, being Catalan and Catalan nationalist means being open and universal. Half the population of Catalonia today, doesn't come from Catalonia. Including myself, for example. My name is Martín because my grandfather was from Salamanca. Being a Catalan and being a Catalan nationalist does not mean excluding the others. In this sense, we are very comfortable about the idea of continuing being Catalans. We will not give it up and as we will not ask anyone to change his way of being or to be ashamed of his origins, we are not going to apologize for being Catalans. Now, if the deeper question is whether you will see Alfons or myself at a political demonstration, the answer is no. Although Laporta has every right to have his political beliefs and to express them as he wishes.
Do you think the political parties can be bothered by the fact that Laporta plans to take part in the political game?
Godall: More than bothered, I think they are worried about it.
Regarding the sporting aspect and looking at the football team, do you think that talking about possible signings will be less important in this campaign than before?
Sala i Martín: We won't pull rabbits out of our hat, no great players or anything like that. That is incompatible with our model. Who is to say which players will be signed is the coaching staff. If a president arrives at the club saying 'I will sign this or that player', it means he has not understood anything. In this model, the president does not sign who he wants.
this was the first part of this interview. you can read the second part here.
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