Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Catalan Cave: Francisco Avila (EFE)

in this section, we ask catalan and spanish sports journalists five questions about the elections for president of fc barcelona. today: francisco ávila from spanish news agency efe.

1. Sandro Rosell is at this moment the big favourite to be the next president of Barça without having made a lot of public statements since he left the club in June 2005. How do you explain that?
Because of the expectations created around his person. Rosell is a person with many contacts in the world of football, as he showed during the two years he served as sports vice-president and previously at Nike. Despite not making statements, he always has a lot of media presence, because of the good relationships he has with the media and that's also why, while the other candidates are appearing on stage, the team of Rosell keeps on waiting. It's a debatable strategy although it's build on a strong and well-defined communication policy.

2. If you were Ferran Soriano, what would you do?
Keep on waiting, look at the different options available and clarify the complicated situation he is facing as chairman of Spanair. I think that Soriano is the big bet of Alfons Godall to form a power duo with Xavier Sala i Martín, with whom Soriano has a great relationship. It is not to be ruled out, if this happens, that Soriano can lead this group if the right circumstances are there.

3. In recent weeks, you have interviewed Jaume Guixà and Agustí Benedito. Who of those two has left the best impression?
They are two completely different discourses. Jaume Guixà plays the card that he is the only candidate who doesn't come from the laportism, because he thinks this can give an electoral payoff. His strongest point of support is that he describes himself as "serious", but I think that everything will be decided in the debates on the models and the ideas. Personally, I think it will be difficult for him to pass the cut of the signatures, as happened in 2006.

Agustí Benedito has the advantage of knowing the club from within, without this meaning that he shares the way in which Laporta has led the club. In fact, he resigned from his post and he has been highly critical of the management by the team in charge. His main argument, as a member of the no longer existing 'Elefant Blau', is that the ideas need to be reformulated starting from that former basis. He has credibility and he could be the big surprise.

4. Xavier Sala i Martín is an asset or a liability for Alfons Godall?
Sala i Martín is a big shot in the world of finances, a renowned economist who can give some brightness to any candidacy. However, he arouses both admiration and suspicion in the Barcelona entourage, probably because he is not able to reach the average fan, since in his media appearances he is at another level. Asset or liability? It depends on the role he plays. If he participates in the debate of ideas, he'll attract votes. If he only exercises as radical critic, he will surely be a nuisance.

5. The decision to hold the election on 13 June was correct?
It is a complicated matter. It's better when the season has ended or before that? Personally, I would have chosen an earlier date, since there is no danger that it will influence the performances of the team and the pre-campaign would not have been dragging on for as long as it will now.

If you were a club member of Barça, who would you vote for?

The previous elections have always been decided at the end, I still remember how the victory of Laporta in 2003 happened, and now something similar can happen. The decision is complicated, I will wait to see how everything develops.

All your possessions are at stake. Give the top-3 of the elections on 13 June.

Thank you for this interview and your time. Good luck in covering the elections.