« I am still unable to understand how after the most brilliant era of the club, the dream of social peace hasn't been realized. It might have been more boring, but we wouldn't have to go through elections that only bother. »
Barcelona presidential candidate Jaume Guixà attended last week a live chat organized by Spanish online newspaper Diario Crítico.
Laporta dealt in a very good way with the radical fans, even at the risk of his own life. We must recognize that and it is to be assumed that you will keep them away from the stadium. But until recently, presidents, including those of Barça, pampered them. What do you think of this shameful support? As Barcelona fan and president of a fan club, I think that the passion for our club, which is Barça, should be above everything and people should comply with the law, so those who are not doing that should be marginalized. People who are going go to a football game should have fun and not worry about their safety.
Is there envy - healthy or unhealthy - towards Barça in Spain? What will you do to fix it, if something can be done? I don't think there's envy. I think that Barca is a mirror in which all clubs would want to see themselves reflected, both because of the quality of the technical staff as because of the attitude of the players.
Do you have any ideas to improve the quality of the league? The fans need to have more competition, it shouldn't just be Madrid vs Barça. And things shouldn't be dominated that much by the television channels. I totally agree with you regarding the two questions. The Spanish league should generate the same uncertainty of the Bundesliga or the Ligue 1, where the champion is not known until the end of the season. Among other things, one problem is that many Spanish teams are in debt and unable to pay for better players, while others - like Madrid - are breaking the market with galactic signings. As for the televisions, we will have to take care of the fact that the fans should be able to come to the stadium, so the matches should be played at 3 or 5 pm, and only occasionally at 10 pm, not like now when it's just the opposite.
Do you think that you have a chance against Sandro Rosell? I present myself as the alternative to the laportism, since all the other candidates have been linked to Laporta or the 'Elefant Blau' at some point. Starting from that, we all will have to present a project and it will be the club member who, with his vote, will decide.
What transfer policy will you follow if you will be elected as president? As I have publicly stated, we are in full season, playing for the league and the Champions League, and to not hinder the technical staff or the players' squad, I will not comment on this issue until the end of season.
Will you de-politicize the club if you become president? We must make a difference between the citizen Joan Laporta and the president of FC Barcelona, who has to represent all club members with their different ideologies. The club cannot and should not be politicized.
What is best thing Laporta has done? And the worst thing? The best was his courageous decision to promote a fourth-division coach without experience to the first team. The worst are many issues, but I would highlight his constant non-compliances from the time when he led the 'Elefant Blau' platform until today.
Would you want to have friendly relations with Real Madrid or the 'gigantism' of Florentino is an obstruction to that? Barça, which is a universal and inclusive club that is competing in the Spanish League, should represent their members and fans in a dignified manner when dealing with a sporting rival no matter who that is, Real Madrid or Espanyol.
Don't you think that the importance of football in the news reports and the huge amounts of money spent by the clubs, who in general have a lot of debts, are excessive? I do not think the media coverage is excessive, because the role of football in today's society is very important. But I do think there's too much money spent by the clubs and I am especially sensitive and deeply concerned about the economic situation of my club, Barça. I honestly do not see it clearly. I want to know the situation in detail and to propose a solution. In the candidacy I'm heading, we are working very hard to be able to solve things.
this is the first part of the chat session. you can read the second part here.
Barcelona first vice-president and presidential candidate Alfons Godall published this week an opinion piece in Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu.
"The coach has to coach, I cannot be everywhere, I cannot handle everything", replied Pep Guardiola on 20 January when they asked him if he would like to become the general manager of Barça. The words of Guardiola close, as I understand, an important debate about the model we want for FC Barcelona.
Let's talk about the role of the sports director and the coach, two positions of such importance and responsibility that they must be kept separated to allow the club to continue the successes of the last years. And there are many reasons that give meaning to the sincere reflection that Pep Guardiola expressed aloud.
Firstly, the immense dedication of the current coach towards the first team is incompatible with the sports planning on the medium and long term. Everyone understands that the coach, who must deal with the day-to-day issues, cannot be analyzing, for example, videos of the next opponent while at the same time watching summaries of other leagues to track down players who could be interesting for the next seasons.
Secondly, the sports director should report regularly on the football events of the club to the president, the board of directors, the delegate commission or the general assembly. The coach should be on the pitch with the players and so he cannot be at the same time at the offices to inform the leaders of the club.
The third reason is that the sports director must ensure the continuity of the sports project when things happen like the change of a coach. The club has won six cups one year after changing the coach. This was only possible because we maintained the continuity of the sports model through the sports director. The history and the experiences of other clubs show that when there is no well-defined philosophy, you move in all directions and the sporting successes don't come.
Fourthly, the sports director is the one who takes care of key tasks such as the signing of players, who manages the bonuses, the wages and the extras of the players. While the coach has to take care of the immediate result, the sports director has to worry about the two or three following seasons.
Pep Guardiola and Txiki Begiristain (and also Frank Rijkaard) have won league titles and Champions Leagues as players and as managers, and they know better than anyone how the club works. The coordination between the coach and the sports director has been the key that has led Barça to the best moments in its history. Changing this dynamics would be a clear dismantling of a model that is admired around the world.
In the upcoming elections, the Barcelona world must choose between several options and put their trust in the project they consider to be the most appropriate one. But don't let them fool you. What is at stake is not just the president, but something that is much more important: an idea about the club, a management philosophy, a sports model.
Regarding the pre-candidacy I'm leading, I've made clear my wish to keep the model that has given us so many successes. Our model will not be that of Ferguson of Manchester, but that of the Barça of the six cups. And the model of the Barça of the six cups has separated and will continue to separate the positions of the sports director and the coach. Because in the model of the Barça of the six cups, the sports director has to plan and the coach has to coach.
Speaking at the press conference after Friday's board meeting, Barcelona chief executive Joan Oliver has said that Barcelona president Joan Laporta wants to add a new director to the board ahead of the elections in June:
"The president would want a eminent lawyer to join the board to ensure the transparency during the electoral process. This person would become a member of the board of directors for the last three months of the current mandate."
Catalan sports paper Sport claims that several presidential candidates are still looking for people who want to join the board if their candidacy wins the elections in June of this year.
Former Barcelona sports vice-president Sandro Rosell is said to almost have his board team ready. There would already have been some changes since he made the decision to run for president and there would still be four or five places that are still in play, but the majority of the directors would be decided upon (read more here).
Current Barcelona vice-presidents Alfons Godall and Jaume Ferrer, and now also former Barcelona economic vice-president Ferran Soriano, would on the other hand still be in the process of looking for possible board members.
All ex-directors and a lot of Catalan entrepreneurs and executives would have been asked if they would be interested to join a candidacy, some of them even by more than one candidate. Interested people should reportedly be willing to invest 10.000 to 60.000 euros in the campaign and be able to deposit a bank gurantee of 2 to 4 million euros.
Barcelona assets vice-president and presidential candidate Jaume Ferrer has opened an account at online question service Formspring. This blog will follow the account and keep you updated on the questions and answers published on there.
Who will in your candidacy assume the vice-presidency in both the sports and the economic area? The formation of our team is very advanced, but we'll comment on these issues once the elections are called.
If you were president, would you continue with the reform of the Camp Nou exactly as planned by Foster? The remodelling of the stadium is necessary because the Camp Nou has to fit the needs of the club member. This would also allow us to compete on an equal footing with the best European clubs.
We all know that, sooner or later, the Palau Blaugrana will have to be remodelled so that there would be a capacity of ten thousand people. How will you encourage the Barcelona supporters to go to the Palau if there is now an average attendance of only five thousand spectators? I think there is enough demand to be able to fill a larger Palau and if we have more capacity we can also improve the supply of tickets.
Who will win the elections? I respect all candidates, but my own objetive is to reach the presidency of FC Barcelona.
It looks as if the candidacy of Sandro Rosell thinks to cancel the position of sports director. With which model do you identify yourself more, with what he may propose or with what will probably be put forward by Alfons Godall? Our project will defend the same model that has given us so many successes, which includes a sports director, a coach and a head of the youth academy. We want a team of players that came through the youth teams, plus players from around the world who can make the differences.
It seems that candidates like Alfons Godall and Sandro Rosell have recently discovered basketball... [godall and rosell assisted a couple of weeks ago a basketball game] What do you think about this? I think it's great, it's never too late. As far as I'm concerned, I'm already assisting the games at the Palau for many years, not only the basketball games but also those of hockey and handball.
Will you continue with the Foster project? What is the current situation? Will the whole stadium be covered? We should re-think the Foster project so the costs are more reasonable, but in any case the project should include to cover the whole Camp Nou.
What do you plan to do for the internationalization of the club? Today we have already achieved that the FCB brand is global and what is needed now is that we go more into depth through media platforms, new markets, especially in America, Asia and Africa.
Asked about his role in the upcoming presidential elections, former Barcelona presidential candidate Josep Maria Minguella has said in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC 1 that the candidacy he is working on is in the process of deciding who could head the list:
"We don't yet have the person who will represent the project. As we have said, we want to organize primaries and we're now looking who want to take part in those primaries. There could be four or five possible names and then we'll see who will be chosen as the best option. If that happens, we'll tell you and if not, we go home and that would also be fine.
It's true that if you look at the actual pre-candidates, one gets a bit scared. In a good way, of course. But I want our project to succeed. I think the club member of Barça would also like it that there are several options, several ways of understanding and leading the club, and then it's up to the member to decide."
I kveld klokken 22.00 på Camp Nou spiller FC Barcelona en viktig hjemmekamp mot Malaga. Etter de dårlige siste kampene, er det nå på tide å få fram finspillet igjen. De største skadeproblemene virker nå å være over, og laget blir i kveld bortimot toppet. Madrid skal på besøk til ferieøya Tenerife, hvor laget fra hovedstaden har tapt flere viktige kamper før, så man kan jo bare håpe. Laget i kveld blir noe sånt som dette; Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Pique, Maxwell, Xavi, Sergio, Iniesta, Messi, Zlatan og Henry.
In this week edition's of Catalan sports weekly paper Gol, in an article entitled "Dirty play on the internet", this blog is mentioned as one of the blogs used by the continuism to try to influence the opinions of the Barcelona fans through the comment section (you see a screenshot of the blog on the second page below).
On Wednesday 10 March, Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell will take part in a debate at the Global Sports Forum, a sports conference that will be held in Barcelona. The organizer has put this biography of Rosell online:
Born in Barcelona on 6.3.64. Degree in Business Administration and MBA at ESADE. In 1990, he started working in the international marketing department of the Organization Committee of the 1992 Olympic Games, as person responsible for the international sponsors.
In 1993, he was the Spanish director of Swiss company ISL, a sports marketing company and the comercial agent for the IOC, FIFA, FIBA, UEFA and IAAF, as well as of the LFP.
In 1996, he joined multinational Nike, as person responsible for the sports marketing in Spain and Portugal, a position he held for three years. He was the architect of the contract with FC Barcelona, which is still in force.
In 1999, he went to Rio de Janeiro and worked there as Nike's Sports Marketing Manager for Latin America. Among others things, he closed the deal between Nike and the Brazilian Football Federation.
He came back to Spain in 2002 and founded the company Bonus Sports Marketing (BSM), which works in the sports marketing field. Among other important projects, he has developed Football Dreams.
This project is now in its third edition and takes place in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The main goal is to use football to help the social development of the African continent.
Sandro Rosell was also Vice-President of FC Barcelona for two years (2003-2005).
The Facebook group that was created after former Barcelona player and manager Carles Rexach had said that he will run for president if such a group would gather 5.000 members has already more than 4.300 followers (read more here).
Rexach spoke earlier this week about the issue in his weekly column in Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo:
"I made the bet that if I would receive the support of 5.000 fans at Facebook, I would take part in the Barça elections. I just accepted like that, among other things because I hardly know what this Facebook thing is about.
But reporters are calling me every now and then and say 'ay, ay, ay!' because the list of supporters is getting longer every day, but we'll see what happens. In any case, there is still a lot of time left for the elections..."
in this section, we ask catalan and spanish sports journalists five questions about the elections for president of fc barcelona. today: victor lozano from spanish radio station onda cero.
1. The two main candidates - Sandro Rosell and Alfons Godall - have a different campaign strategy with a more active Godall and a Rosell who is waiting. Both have chosen the best option for their particular interests? Yes. Sandro has already done a lot of the work and showing up in public now can only harm him. As far as Godall is concerned, despite the fact that he's a director, he needs to come out more to be seen by the people as the standard-bearer of the continuism.
2. When will Ferran Soriano announce his decision on how he will take part in the elections? Shortly after the electoral campaign has started, when he will see more clearly how the electoral landscape looks like.
3. Everybody talks about Rosell, Godall and Soriano. One of the other candidates (Ferrer, Benedito, Guixà) can cause an upset? Absolutely not. In fact, the most likely thing is that they all end up trying to join one of the other candidacies.
4. Joan Laporta is an advantage or an obstacle for Alfons Godall? If he knows how to manage it, it's an advantage, and actually a very big one.
5. What is the role of the media in the elections? Is it possible that certain media or individual journalists will openly support a candidate? There sure will be alliances depending on the interests of each one. Barça is a very sweet cake and sadly everyone wants a piece of it, and even more so when it has chocolate and blueberries on it. In principle the press is watching things for now, although there are already some who have positioned themselves very clearly.
THE EXTRASAs a club member of Barça, who will you vote for? Sandro Rosell
All your possessions are at stake. Give the top-3 of the elections on 13 June. Sandro Rosell, Ferran Soriano, Alfons Godall
Thank you for this interview and your time. Good luck in covering the rest of the season and the elections.
Catalan sports paper Sport made an overview of - based on how things stand now - what the role of the fifteen directors of the original board of Joan Laporta that took office in June of 2003 will be in the upcoming presidential elections.
(from left to right)
Marc Ingla will support Ferran Soriano
Xavier Cambra won't take part in the elections
Alfons Castro will support Jaume Ferrer
Jaume Ferrer will lead an own candidacy
Alfons Godall will lead an own candidacy
Sandro Rosell will lead an own candidacy
Josep Cubells will support Alfons Godall
Albert Vicens won't take part in the elections
Joan Laporta cannot run, will support Alfons Godall
"Older people, like me, won the second league when we were 23 years old. While now, the young kids see that Barça is winning so much that they believe that it has always been like this and that's not the case."
Catalan sports paper Sport claims that former Barcelona economic vice-president Ferran Soriano will take part in the elections for president of FC Barcelona.
Soriano would lead an own candidacy and the decision would be officially announced in two or three weeks.
First, Soriano wants to personally inform all the members of the board of directors of Spanish airline Spanair, of which he is the chairman, about his decision. The directors of Spanair wouldn't have problems with the candidacy and a possible presidency of Soriano.
Soriano's right-hand man during the campaign would be former Barcelona vice-president Marc Ingla, who left the club together with Soriano in 2008. Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu claims that Ingla has been preparing the candidacy of Soriano.
Spanish news agency EFE claims that Soriano didn't yet make a decision but that he has been in contact with current Barcelona board members, among which presidential candidates Alfons Godall and Jaume Ferrer. None of the meetings would nevertheless already have led to a deal.
Sources of the entourage of Soriano would have told that the best option could be a united candidacy with the current board members and both Ferrer and Godall would be open for this option, that would also be supported current Barcelona president Joan Laporta. El 9 Esportiu claims that Soriano and Laporta could meet soon to solve their differences.
EFE says that it's so far unclear who should lead the candidacy but an agreement could be reached by the end of March or the beginning of April. Spanish news site El Confidencial suggests that Soriano would head the list because Godall would in the end prefer a role in the shadow.
Catalan sports paper Sport claims that two new people will soon announce that they will run for president of FC Barcelona in the upcoming elections later this year.
The first possible candidate is reportedly an entrepreneur from the construction sector, while the second one would be a businessman and long-time Barcelona fan who still has to be convinced but who could have the support of former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart.
Barcelona blogger Diego Valor claimed earlier this week on his blog that someone with enough money to launch himself in the campaign and who has so far not been on any list of possible candidates could be on the verge of taking part in the elections. A decision could be made this week.
« Sandro will keep quiet until May because, although he is out of the picture for four and a half years, he knows that he has a lot to lose. He will show up every now and then but he will avoid as long as possible the one-on-one Xavier Sala i Martin is dreaming about. »
All Barcelona presidential candidates watched the Champions League game against Stuttgart on Tuesday together with Barcelona fans.
Sandro Rosell travelled to Stuttgart with a group of friends to attend the game (second picture below). Jaume Ferrer (picture above) and Jaume Guixà watched the game at a Barcelona fan club.
Agustí Benedito watched the game with his campaign team at a bar in Barcelona (first picture below) and Alfons Godall together with 75 invited fans at the headquarters of his campaign (third picture below).
Speaking to Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio, former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart has said that he has suggested to Barcelona president Joan Laporta that the latter could be part of a presidential candidacy in the upcoming elections as vice-president:
"What could be postive for the continuism - I told it to president Laporta but he didn't listen - is that Mr Godall or Mr Ferrer would be president and Mr Laporta vice-president. That would be a master move, machiavellian but masterly. But Mr Laporta apparently didn't follow my advice and has chosen for a political career."
In principle, the club statutes don't seem to forbid the mentioned option. The third point of Article 31, entitled 'Duration of term of office', read as follows: "The President of the Governing Board may hold office, consecutively, for a maximum of two terms. The other members of the board can be re-elected indefinitely."
And Article 38 of the statutes, that enumerates the conditions to be eligible as director, also doesn't put any obstacles if the president resigns at the right time, a few weeks before the elections (point f):
"a) To be an adult and not legally incapacitated. b) To have been a Club member for a minimum of one year at the moment that the elections are called. c) Not to be on suspended membership at the moment that the elections are called. d) Not to have been associated to FC Barcelona as a player, trainer, member of the coaching staff or employee during the two years prior to the calling of elections. e) Not to have been punished disciplinarily by the Club for a very serious infringement during the five years prior to the calling of elections. f ) To have presented one's resignation and left the position before beginning Stage VI of the electoral procedure (presentation of candidacies) in the case of the aspiring candidate being a member of the Board of Directors or Management Commission that has called the elections and seeks to present oneself for re-election. g) To be included in the current Electoral Roll."
Barcelona presidential candidate Agustí Benedito gave an interview to Catalan regional newspaper Diari de Tarragona.
Can you explain some of your proposals? There are some key concepts like transparency in dealing with the club members, honesty in the management, and representation of the members. In all these aspects, Laporta deserves a fail. I am also very concerned about the assets policy.
With whom has Agustí Benedito surrounded himself to tackle this adventure? We have a campaign team of 214 people who are working for five months on this project. As for the board, it's not yet the right time to disclose any names, but they all have the profile of the average entrepreneur, Catalan, not first generation and people closely linked with the society.
What weight will Tarragona have in your candidacy? Until today, I have been able to meet with 1.500 members. I came to Tarragona several times and will return many times. During these visits, I have discovered that Barça, besides being an enhancer element, can also be a limiting factor. I speak about the football team and the other sections.
It's very difficult to change this image... I actually think that it is very simple. It's a matter of being convinced of finding a solution, to look for collaboration and positive elements. It will be simple. I'm sure.
Outside of Catalonia, it seems to be difficult to be a Barça fan. The Catalan character of Barça is part of the very essence of Barça. No one can want to reduce this distinguishing feature. But doing politics from the presidency is a serious mistake and betrays the founding spirit of the club. Outside of Catalonia, the attitude of Laporta has caused hatred against Barça. But I don't think that is only the case outside of Catalonia. These days I have also noticed a great and generalized feeling of fiscomfort inside Catalonia.
Will you make a deal with someone? The conviction that our program is the best and that we are an alternative are two reasons that make a deal impossible. We'll get to the end.
Do you have a star signing in the pipeline? I find it very difficult to make concrete proposals without first talking to Guardiola. I do not intend to give any names. The issue should be discussed with the coach.
this was the second and last part of this interview. you can read the first part here.
in this section, we ask catalan and spanish sports journalists five questions about the elections for president of fc barcelona. today: abraham clotet from catalan sports paper sport.
1. Ferran Soriano could decide to run for the presidency with an own candidacy, meaning without teaming up with the continuity bid Godall-Sala? Everything seems to indicate that he is preparing to compete for the presidency. Because of his profile, it would surprise me if he take up a role as number two.
2. Why is Sandro Rosell staying silent? I think Rosell doesn’t want to wear himself out too soon. He knows that if he talks, he has more to lose than to win. I think that he will wait until the very last minute so ha can take as much advantage as possible of the good image many people have of him.
3. People talk a lot about possible agreements between candidates. Rosell, Godall, Ferrer, Benedito and Guixà are the pre-candidates so far: who are the two that would most likely strike a deal? I think Rosell won't close a deal with anyone. Regarding the others, it wouldn't surprise me at all if they would all end up looking for alliances.
4. Fifteen directors, five of whom were vice-presidents, have left in the past 7 years. Is Joan Laporta that difficult to live with? Laporta brought together the people that at that moment wanted change, a heterogeneous group in which there soon were differences of opinion. With the passage of time and the making of decisions the positions drifted more and more apart and, in light of the facts, the board became more presidential.
5. The decision to organize the elections on 13 June was right? In my opinion it was better to hold them as soon as possible. Barça will reach the decisive stage of the season with this very long pre-campaign in full swing and there will come out names, transfer rumours, dirty laundry... And that could ultimately affect the players at a key moment.
THE EXTRASIf you were a club member of Barça, who would you vote for? I am not a club member and if I was, I still wouldn't know who to vote for. There are three months left and it still remains to be seen which concrete proposals each one will bring forward.
All your possessions are at stake. Give the top-3 of the elections on 13 June. 1. Rosell 2. Godall-Soriano? 3. I don't think there's anyone else in the race.
Thank you for this interview and your time. Good luck in covering the rest of the season and the elections.
Catalan sports journalist Alex Santos claims on his blog that former Barcelona economic vice-president Ferran Soriano will in the coming weeks make a decision on his role in the upcoming elections for president of FC Barcelona in June.
After Spanair, the Spanish airline of which Soriano currently is the chairman, has reached over the last days agreements with the employees and the banks which temporarily solves their financial and social problems, he has now the time to look at his possible participation in the elections.
The options would go from only taking part as an observer over a candidacy on his own to a candidacy that could include current Barcelona vice-presidents and presidential candidates Alfons Godall and Jaume Ferrer. Soriano would make his decision public in two or three weeks - at the most one month - from now.
Barcelona treasurer Xavier Sala i Martín claims on his Facebook page that Santos has first-hand information since he yesterday met with Soriano in the Semon restaurant in Barcelona and thinks it now has become clear that, when Soriano will announce his candidacy, he will do that alone.
Asked about the rumours that he has been offered to head a candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections (read more here), Catalan journalist and writer Xavier Bosch has confirmed the reports in an interview with Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio:
"It's true that I have talked with a group of people to discuss the issue. But although I of course would like to be president of Barça, I should rephrase Groucho Marx and say that I would never want to become the president of a club that accepts me as president. Have I also talked with Rosell? No comment. Soriano? No comment."
Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell is considering to officially present his candidacy on Thursday 6 May, one year after the goal of Andrés Iniesta against Chelsea that qualified Barcelona for the final of last season's Champions League in Rome.
Rosell, who for some events would use a renowned Barcelona hotel, is said to be deciding at this moment on where he will have his headquarters ahead of the elections later this year, on Sunday 13 June.
The former Barcelona sports vice-president can reportedly count on a campaign team of more than 400 collaborators, most of which are volunteers, who are spread over the four Catalan provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona.
Da er det endelig klart for Champions League igjen, og Barcelona skal til Tyskland for å spille den første kampen borte mot Stuttgart. Med et uavgjort resultat eller seier i Tyskland, bør det meste være gjort for å sikre avansement til kvartfinalen. Både Zlatan, Xavi og Dani Alves trener igjen, men alle er usikre for kampen i kveld. Abidal og Keita er heller ikke med på Tysklandsturen grunnet skader. Tipper laget blir noe sånt som dette; Valdes, Puyol, Pique, Marquez, Maxwell, Xavi, Yaya, Sergio, Messi, Zlatan og Iniesta.
Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell gave an interview to the website of the Global Sports Forum, a sports conference that will be held in Barcelona next month and in which Rosell will take part.
What does sport mean to you, in general and in your daily life? For me, sport is a passion and a way of living and understanding life. Sport is very important in my every day life. It helps me to find the balance between my body, soul and mind.
Which sport do you play yourself? Football of course and I like running very much.
What is your favourite team? My favorite team is FC Barcelona, the best team in the world.
Who is your favourite sportsman? I have a few, but if I have to choose one, I would say Michael Jordan.
What's your dearest sports memory? I have several. The first, and the most important one for my career, were the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992. Later there was the World Cup in Corea and Japan in 2002 and, as you can imagine, all the victories of Barça.
In a few words, how will the sports map look like in twenty years from now? Now time is running very fast and technologies are advancing quick, so it is very difficult to know what is going to happen in a far away future. But sport will always be sport.
Barcelona presidential candidate Agustí Benedito gave an interview to Catalan regional newspaper Diari de Tarragona.
You were the first candidate to come out. Why? Some media started publishing the rumour that we wanted to take part in the elections. And since we have always defended that we want to talk in a clear way, we decided to confirm this rumour. We did it on 8 October.
There are other candidates who have chosen to stay silent. I don't look at what other pre-candidates do. Our goal is to gain visibility step by step and I think it is a strategy that is good for us.
You are closely linked to the first 'era' of Joan Laporta. In fact, you were one of the driving forces behind the former 'Elefant Blau' opposition group. Does that benefit or harm you? It's true. I got to know Laporta in 1997 and since then we have had a close relationship. In fact, I feel very much part of the victory of Laporta in 2003 and I am very proud of my contribution to that. I think that this project, when it is updated and renewed, is still very valid and I think the club members also have that idea.
So what has changed since 2003? There has been a moment when Laporta and his board decided to turn the situation around and to abandon the project with which they won the elections. Laporta has done some very good things, other things of that project he has not done and others he has done in a bad way. So our idea is to keep the spirit of that program.
Joan Laporta has changed a lot over the last years? I think that he has lost control of many things. The latest example is the use of politics. He has used his position as president for personal gain. That is one of the biggest mistakes a president of Barça can make.
Six titles have been won, Barça has been hailed as one of the best teams in history and still the feeling is that people want a change. That is difficult to understand... It's true. It sounds strange. This will surely be the first campaign at the club in which the sporting theme will not be the main focus of discussion. We are the best team in the world, but we should now make sure that the rest of the club is also at the same level of excellence of the football team.
What role does Agustí Benedito play in a war that seems to have only two key people: the continuity candidate and Sandro Rosell? We are another alternative. When we made public our intention to take part in the elections, it was very clear to us that our project would be the best project and we keep on believing that. That's why we will continue with it.
this was the first part of this interview. you can read the second part here.
Asked about his role in the upcoming elections, former presidential candiate Josep Maria Minguella has repeated in an interview with Spanish news agency EFE that he is working on a candidacy together with a large group of Barcelona fans:
"We're working on a project and it's very possible it will lead to a concrete candidacy that could be announced in one month.
Our group of around 50 people mostly consists of liberal professionals and includes important people of the city of Barcelona. This group has been meeting for some time, but I cannot give you any names.
Our ideology will be totally different to that of most other projects. The starting point is that it's not good for Barça that the future would be decided between the 'pro-laportistas' and the 'anti-laportistas', because there are other options.
In principle I won't be the head of the candidacy. That person will be chosen by the group through primaries. Why wouldn't I lead the project myself? Well, I lived the experience already and I can tell you that the world of football is a nest of jealousy.
For many years, I dedicated myself to this job - that of player's agent - of which I am very proud. But there are people who give more credit to the belief, which is not true, that I've made money from Barça than to the fact that I have brought Maradona, Stoichkov, Romario, Rivaldo and Messi to Barça, the last one for free. But people don't value it, so what can I do..."
Josep Maria Minguella, a 68-year old former player's agent who now mainly acts as a Barcelona pundit for a number of radio and television shows, took part in the 2003 elections, when he ended fifth with 1.867 votes (3,62%). The Catalan supported the 2008 vote of no confidence against the board.
« That the elections are on 13 June favours Ferran Soriano more than anyone. It's what he needed. Time, a couple of months, to take off, or not, with Spanair. If he's up in the air, he will fly over the Camp Nou. And if he does that, it will be as number one. Maybe with Godall, maybe not, but certainly with Sala i Martín and without Joan Oliver. »
Barcelona blogger Sisco Pinyol reports on his blog about the meetings that representatives of Barcelona fans clubs had over the lasts couple of weeks with Barcelona presidential candidates Sandro Rosell and Jaume Ferrer and claims that both have a very good relationship.
During the meeting with Rosell, the former sports vice-president would have praised Ferrer and have said that in case he would be forced to team up with someone of the other candidates, he would choose the current assets vice-president.
A few days later, the latter would have said the same about Rosell, who left the club in June 2005, quickly answering "Sandro Rosell" when asked with whom he would close a deal if the other party wouldn't object to that.
Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall and Barcelona treasurer Xavier Sala i Martín gave an interview to Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
You can count on the support of the club. Does that make you the favourites ahead of the elections? Sala i Martín: I don't think that Alfons is the candidate to beat because he is in power. We will not use power for personal gain. What does give us an advantage is that we have done a good job. Since this board is in power, the club has won 11 major trophies. Between I was born and I reached the age of 23, we only won one league. The one of Cruyff in 1973-1974. Now, the team is playing in an out of this world way. The global image of the club is excellent and we have followers in every corner of the planet. The other candidates will have to explain which of these 11 cups they do not like.
The silence of Sandro Rosell makes you feel uncomfortable? Sala i Martín: No, no. I guess that when you do not talk that is because you have little to say. I suppose he has a program. But what exactly is he going to change? I think that he is trying to invent a product. He is an expert in marketing, he wants to sell us a product, but it will be difficult. He will have to tell us what he wants to change and why he wants that.
Do you understand then that the club member idolizes the figure of Rosell? Sala i Martín: What I do know is that since he has not explained anything, nobody can criticize him. What is exactly his project? I insist. We have eleven trophies. Which one doesn't he like? That he explains that to me. And the day he does, we will be able to discuss about ideas. He hasn't explained what he wants. He shows up at councils, twitter sessions,... And every time he appears he says he doesn't talk about Barça. He organizes big events to show how popular he is, but he only talks about the time when he worked at Mirurgia [company that sells beauty products and perfumes], when he was looking for a job and so on... But not about Barça. While the club member has the right to hear about that. So I ask him: "Which one of these trophies don't you like?"
With a view to the election campaign, could there be difficulties in a one-on-on sporting debate with him? Rosell is a sports enthusiast. Godall: Not at all.
Are you specifically preparing yourself for that? Godall: Oh well, I'm more than prepared, just like Xavier. My football formation is limited to having seen Barça playing for many years. My father is a club member since the days of Les Corts [barcelona stadium between 1922 and 1957]. I went to the Camp Nou in shorts. And I know the stadium very well... I inherited the season-ticket of my mother, who passed away in the year 1986. Sala i Martín: I was a member until I moved to the United States. And then I again became a member in 2003. I had my seat at the south goal, in the corner, right where you could not see the old electronic scoreboard. I was a member of Barça until 1985 and I inherited the season-ticket of my uncle. I even went to the Basel final [european cup winners's cup in 1979, barcelona-fortuna dusseldorf 4-3] without telling my parents. I have my season-ticket of that time signed by Rexach.
So there is no fear at all then in the face of a televised debate? Godall: I look forward to them. I think I am quite capable of talking about Barça's future as a member in front of whoever the other candidates will be. And then another thing. I will not talk about football with Sandro. Because I am going to propose to the member a model that will be led by people who do know something about football. Sandro Rosell knows as much about football as you, as me, as anyone who has played in teams like Sant Andreu or Sants [local catalan teams], as I believe is his case. But he didn't win any Champions League, not as a coach, not as a player, not as a sports director and not as a vice-president, because he left even before we achieved all this. Sala i Martín: If Sandro Rosell or whoever knows a lot about football and thinks that they can go out there and sign players because he knows them and so on... In that case we would make a mistake. That era is over at Barça. And regarding discussions about football, I'm sure that Sandro doesn't know more about it than Alfons. Godall: Nor than you. Sala i Martín: To have worked at Nike obviously gives you a great experience, as you can also get by selling shirts.
Would you accept Soriano as the leader of the continuity candidacy, with you, Mr. Godall, as the number two? Godall: My only hypothesis is leading a bid for the presidency. But I'm open to talk with him. Sala i Martín: The key date for Barcelona isn't 13 June, but 1 July. The day the new board starts. We have already experienced good times that have ended in disaster because things weren't done in a right way. Winning the elections and doing a bad job would be the worst thing that could happen to the club. Imagine that. That in six years from now we would be accused of having destroyed the great Barça of the Six Cups. That would be the worst thing.
this was the second and last part of this interview. you can read the first part here.