Saturday, May 15, 2010

Benedito: "We want to listen to the member"

Barcelona presidential candidate Agustí Benedito gave an interview to Spanish football site Mercafutbol.

translation: jakob zsambok

Were you disappointed when you saw the election timetable?
Maybe disappointed is the wrong word, but the club statutes indicate that the election date should be a date which promotes maximum participation in the election. So in theory the elections should be held on a game day. As it is now, the collection of signatures has to start on 14 May [note: the collection will in the end start on 17 may]. With this decision we have to validate all the signatures in two instead of three days.

The board are justifying the election date, because they wanted to make sure the election process doesn't detract the first team.
I don't know how they can justify that this way, because I do not understand how a football player can be detracted by something that happens outside of the stadium. It doesn't make any sense.

Anyway, you contacted more than 2.300 cub members and traveled 12.000 kilometres to promote your candidacy, and you have about 5.000 contacts on facebook, so it surely shouldn't be much of a problem for you to collect the required 2095 signatures?
It's true we've already had the honour to talk with many of the socios, and we wish to continue to do so. To talk and, above all, to listen. Right now my facebook account has exceeded the limit of new friends request, but we also have many other support groups.
We believe that by continuing to work with the same conviction, we will reach the required signatures. Over the last six months, we have received a great deal of support, so we wont stop.

What about the other candidates, which ones do you think will have more problems getting the required signatures?
I don't know how the final days of the election will work out, but because of my experience with other elections, I can say that getting the signatures requires hard work by any candidate. You have to do a lot of talking with the members, to try to convince them of your project, it's not an easy thing to do. I saw other candidates who did not talk with the socios at all. In the last six months, I tried to talk to as many as possible, I don't know how the others gather their support, but in any case I'm sure Sandro Rosell will obtain the required signatures, because he had a lot of time to prepare for his campaign. As for the others, I'm not sure.

We talked about facebook. The importance of new technologies in this campaign is incredible.
I think it all roots in the positive evolution of our society. Social networks are becoming more important every day, and as a consequence, Barça has to adapt to those changes. Obviously this wasn't the case in previous elections.

Did you use facebook or twitter before your candidacy?
I did use facebook but just for my close friends, I never used twitter before.

If you win the elections, will you use those technologies to get closer to the socios?
Definitely! They are very powerful tools, with some limitations though, because they do not reach all age groups, but those elements are anyway gradually gaining more importance.

The importance of the new technologies is one of the big differences of this election process in comparison to those of the past. Did you spot any other differences, as you have already participated in four previous elections?
For us there were not many other differences to previous elections, because our principle has always been to get as close as possible to the members. We like to say that our secret weapon are the people, we didn't change our willingness to listen and to look after the member.
What did change are the types of members, because of the current 168.000 members, 88.000 have joined the club after the election of Laporta. That means those members haven't been members for a long time. There were also 40.000 who joined but already left. So we have to assume that there is a greater volatility in comparison to previous elections where we had a fixed group of members with a large number of guaranteed voters.

this was the first part of this interview. you can read the second part here and the third part here.

Read more:
Benedito: "Our secret weapon are the people"
[pictures] Presidential candidates in Paris
Benedito says others have political and media links

interview: elena fernández