Of Politics and Football: The 2010 Barça Elections (pt 2)

Yesterday we reviewed the candidacy of Agustí­ Benedito; today we’ll be tackling Jaume Ferrer and Marc Ingla, leaving Sandro Rosell to his own post tomorrow. So, to just go ahead and jump right in:

Jaume Ferrer Graupera. Born November 29, 1963 in Barcelona. Official site.

Ferrer, socio number 79,935, is a Catalan businessman who has previously worked in the marketing departments of various multinational corporations (Bimbo, El Caserio, and Citizen Watch Company) and was a Vice President of Marketing and Media at FCB from 2003 until his resignation this year in order to run for president. He is one of 4 people to have served the entire length of Laporta’s time in office (along with Alfons Godall, Alfons Castro, and Josep Cubells). He does not appear to have been involved in Barça’s politics prior to the 2003 candidacy.

Ferrer’s official platform can be downloaded here, though it’s only available in Catalan.

Unlike Benedito, who describes himself as “L’Alternativa” (The Alternative), Ferrer’s campaign slogan is one of continuity: “Per Seguier Guayant” (To Keep on Winning). He has been selected as Laporta’s successor by the man himself and is certainly aligning himself with the last 7 years in almost every possible way. He proposes maintaining not only the same sporting program–Guardiola, Txiki, Alexanko–but also the same organizational structure that is currently in place. His entire plan is basically “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Also unlike Benedito, this plan would include the continued growth of foreign academies and institutions as well as the continued growth of Catalanism within the club’s ranks.

The economics of the club are, according to Ferrer, so good that, under his guidance, by 2016 the club would be earning ~€800m per year (up from a predicted €430m in 2010) thanks to facility improvements and new constructions such as a hotel, new facilities for the youth teams, and, implicitly, selling off the Miniestadi. Interestingly, his platform claims that his project would include earning money from new members, but his stated stance on new members is that they should be limited; the obvious problems between those two statements hasn’t been clearly explained, so in order to earn enough to meet expectations, either membership expansion is necessary or increased membership fees are required.

My Take: Ferrer is playing games with all of us over the membership issue and how he sees his role in regards to the “more Catalan than thou” contest going on in this election. For instance, an interesting facet of Ferrer’s platform is his 16th and final point:

REFORÇAR LA CATALANITAT I UNIVERSALITAT DEL CLUB: Mantenir l’essència catalana i universal del club. Apostar per un club integrador defensant l’origen del FC Barcelona, que aglutini el sentiment dels socis i aficionats blaugrana de tot el món. El Barça que proposem és una entitat esportiva plural, democràtica i transparent que no s’emprarà com a plataforma política.

My translation (and remember, I don’t speak Catalan, so some of the nuances may be lost on me):

Reinforce the Catalanism and Universality of the Club: Maintain the Catalan and universal essence of the club. Work towards a club that defends the origins of FC Barcelona and takes into account the feelings of members and fans worldwide. The Barça we propose is pluralist, democratic, and transparent sports entity that is not a business with a political platform.

Not a political platform? A pluralistic, democratic entity? Then why the “Catalunya is an independent nation” statements? Or the attempt to shove out foreign members by limiting their access? Democracy is supposedly open for all, transparency isn’t just for those elite few with access, and pluralist means you are in favor of outside views being incorporated into the current model. Yet none of what Ferrer says in public goes along with those stated goals. Politics, as always, is at the forefront of his campaign and to act as if it’s not is both disingenuous and troubling.

I would lean towards voting for him simply based on the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” idea, except that the model can certainly be improved upon and the idea that it is perfect because we’re living a dream on the field is both nonsense and insulting to members whose memories go back farther than 7 years. Hell, they need only go back a couple of weeks to see that the Laporta model is occasionally insufferable and that the “smarter than you” attitude can rub people the wrong way.

Marc Ingla i Mas. Born January 21, 1966 in Barcelona. Official site.

Ingla, socio number 62,428, is an industrial engineer by training and the founder of Cluster Consulting International, a digital strategy consulting firm that no doubt uses more buzzwords per sentence than any other company in Europe. As a side note, Cluster Consulting appears to have been purchased by Diamond Technology Partners for $44m in cash plus lots of stock at the time worth around $575m. It is unclear to me if Ingla was still a part of the company at the time the merger was completed or not (November 2000). He joined Laporta’s campaign in 2003 and served as the Vice President of Marketing and Media until 2007 when he became Vice President of Football Operations (“vicepresident del area de futbol”) until he left in 2008 after breaking with Laport over the Uzbek affair. He does not appear to have been involved in Barça’s politics prior to the 2003 candidacy.

Ingla’s official platform can be downloaded here, though it’s only available in Catalan.

The campaign slogan Ingla is running under is Més Barça Que Mai (More Barça Than Ever) and despite that not really meaning anything in English, it makes it obvious from the start that Ingla isn’t running on a Catalanist platform, but rather one wrapped up in the Barça image (blaugrana-striped rather than senyera-striped). It should be noted, however, that none of the candidates have a single senyera in their published platforms and that only Jaume Ferrer has one on his website (as best as I can tell and even that one is a bit hidden) and that Ingla’s platform also contains several adroit references to Catalanism, though fewer than any of the other platforms. You could argue, actually, that Ingla does have one in his platform via Puyol’s armband in a picture.

A major source of Ingla’s candidacy is the team he’s put together, which includes Albert Vicens (VP of FCB 2003-2008), Ferran Soriano (Barça’s VP of Economics 2003-2008), and Alfons Godall (Barça’s VP of Social Affairs, 2003-2010). It is notable that he has major players from both before and after the 2008 rift in the Laporta administration. Godall was originally Laporta’s choice as successor until he joined the Ingla campaign and Ferrer became the “continuity candidate.”

His economic model is very similar to that of Jaume Ferrer, with only the numbers slightly different. Ingla’s projected 2016 revenues are €792.1m compared to Ferrer’s €800m flat. The difference appears to come from Ingla’s 2010 projection of €405m instead of Ferrer’s €430m. The way forward for Ingla appears to be increasing the number of members in the same vein as the last 7 years (el Gran Repte) while also growing the number of academies and beginning to build foreign “ambassadorial offices” in NYC, Mexico, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, Moscow, and Shanghai that would work both commercially and through football to further open up foreign markets to the Barça brand. That’s a wide-ranging and influential set of cities, though the lack of inclusion of a South American city is interesting, especially considering Barça has already made inroads into Argentina. Website FC Barcelona Elections has claimed that there are plans for offices in Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires, Abijdan, and Oslo, but I found nothing to corroborate that, though it does make lots of sense. Part of the plan would be to create mini Barça museums in these “embassies” in order to further attract attention and support.

He has no set plans concerning the sale of land or assets (such as the Miniestadi), but does want to improve facilities and member access to tickets, facilities, and Barça in general. None of the candidates really stray from that line, by the way, so it’s not an original statement. An ever-increasing portion of the revenue from foreign sources would help fill the coffers and certainly adding new members, coordinating foreign penya trips, and adding official stores around the world would help to give Barça greater economic stability. Part of that plan is to increase the ability of fans to purchase tickets online from anywhere in the world. That would, indeed, greatly increase the number of foreign fans capable of going to the matches and filling the stadium more often.

My Take: I would vote for him, but there are negatives, for sure.

Ingla is neither a continuity nor a non-continuity candidate, but rather a man playing the middle ground and attempting to push his in-between vision. Most of that vision stems from his time on the board; I appreciate the fact that he’s taking some of the good from the Laporta era and using them in his platform without insulting those who came before him (which would be biting the hand that feeds, in some respects), but it is also disingenuous that he has claimed any successes after his 2008 departure from the board. Given that there is ample evidence he was in favor of Mourinho over Guardiola, it strikes me as lying that he would put the Champions League victory in Rome on his credentials and publish his platform with pictures of that celebration, Ibra in the squad, and especially Guardiola. This is, to me, a fairly horrendous black mark on an otherwise tremendous campaign. An argument could certainly be made that he set the stage for these success and that Godall was involved in it, but that is not enough in my book to fully excuse this kind of idiocy.

Despite that, his plan appears to be the best of the 3 reviewed so far and the least grating of all 4. It is not Catalanist for the sake of being more Catalunyan than others, but rather it strikes me as actually global and inclusive. Other candidates pay lip service to “universality” but in the end mean “Catalunya for Catalans” in a fairly xenophobic way. There is none of that sense of dread in Ingla’s approach and that is refreshing after a week of reading nothing but wonderful pearls of “but they’re furrin” from various outlets. As a foreign member, it is fairly natural that I would align myself with the candidate who made me feel most included in the club, but it is also that Ingla and his team do have a solid track record when it comes to economics, transfers, and leaving the sporting side of things the hell alone–as Ingla has promised to do in unequivocal terms.

His candidacy is far, far from perfect, but given the others (and we have yet to review Rosell, mind), I would say he is the best candidate for the job because he wants to continue that which should continue and improve that which should be improved.

Much more tomorrow.

Categorized as Elections

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


  1. I have three big issues this election:
    1. A president who will keep their hands off the sporting aspect and allow it to grow organically. There is no room for a president who wants to put his own stamp on the first team, that is Pep and the future sporting director’s job.
    2. A president who will act in a humble, respectful way. This includes towards other clubs and just overall. This also includes not using the club for his own purposes (such as politicizing the club for his future political career or buying/selling players to line his own pockets).
    3. This last issue is a new one that I wasn’t worried about until I heard the candidates take on this: I want a president who will maintain the universality of the club. The club is fundamentally Catalan, but Catalanism has a rich history of influence from “foreigners” and the Catalan nature of the club doesn’t exclude universality.

    Overall I think Ingla is the best fit for me. His team is very strong, and he is the only candidate that I look at as a team rather than an individual. For some reason I’ve been ignoring his taking advantage of the recent successes. His team did work to lay the foundations of the current success. I can forgive him for supporting Mourinho over Guardiola if he has learned from his mistake – I wish he would just admit it.

    Also – I thought he was too attacking in the radio debate. I know he needs to bring down Rosell, but the best way to do it is with calm and reason. Hopefully he will be better at the next one.

    1. With regard to #3, I love the cognitive dissonance from Ferrer: push foreign academies while pushing catalan nationalism.

      I just want them to focus on the game.

  2. “While every effort is being made to keep Cesc at the club the boss is working towards an alternative,” an Arsenal source told The Sun.

    “He [Wenger] believes Gourcuff’s finesse and grace will fit perfectly to Arsenal’s way of playing and will make it an almost seamless transition if Cesc does go.”

    (Sorry, just for the record.)

    And it looks like Citeh is in for 30m so far for The Yaya, and the clubs are continuing to negotiate. Look for this one to fall into place this week, and we will bid our very own star system farewell. No Champions League football next season, and quite possibly not ever. But he will able to hang with Kolo.

    1. I know everyone loves Yaya, but for fuck’s sake, $30M for Yaya is a ton of money. A gargantuan amount for a somewhat inconsistent D-Mid.

    2. If “market forces” are always right, then €30m for Yaya (which is $35m, btw) is, in my estimation, a slight undervaluation. Xabi Alonso was purchased by RM for €35m and I see Yaya as better than Xabi or at the very least at the same level. If Lass supposedly commands a €27m transfer fee (random rumor in Marca).

      If he goes to City, I’ll be one unhappy blogger. But so it goes. Club before player before blogger, eh? Damn you, hierarchy!

    3. I have made my thoughts on Yaya very clear in the past. He is a fine/great player about 70% of the time and something else the rest. I just feel that anything above $30M is a ridiculously large amount.

      I also think Alonso is better, and that will probably get me killed here. But whatever.

    4. Well I don’t think The Yaya has been used to his full, unlike Alonso who had his best season with L’pool in 08-09. 30m was a large amount of money two seasons ago…

    5. “an Arsenal source told The S*n.”

      Dont Buy the Sun…


      Just had to throw that in, the old man is an avid Liverpool Supporter and I like them aswell.

      But poor Yaya, hope he gets a good look at the trophy room at Camp Nou before he leaves, he’s never going to see that CL trophy again…

    6. Hate to say it but the Liverpool supporters club tries to boycott everyone, anytime they have an ax to grind, it’s boycott this and that. By the way, these are the same Liverpool fans that BURNT AN AMERICAN FLAG OUTSIDE ANFIELD last week, as a show of protest of Hicks and Gillet. That is absolutly sick if you ask me, if it was not for American intervention in WW2, those limeys would be speaking German and rooting for Michale Ballak next week not Wayne Rooney. If you ask me, Liverpool can piss off, the only things they have worth of note are Yosie and Fernando.

    7. Its not only Liverpool Football club supporters who boycott it however, its the entire city, Everton fans included.Id say they have a pretty good reason for this particular boycott…

    8. I am all for the first amendment bud but sorry, there I no Good reason to burn an American flag, and it was Liverpool fans who lead and organized the protest in which the flags were burned.

    9. I’m a history buff, and just a little correction: WWII was lost to the Germans when they opened a two-front war into the same Russian gulf that swallowed many a would-be conqueror. Our intervention accelerated the end of the war, but the real race to was to make sure that Europe wouldn’t be Russian.

      Had Hitler left Russia alone, Europe would have been turned long before we’d been willing to turn an eye away from the Pacific. The perception that America “won the war” is a common one in America. It’s also a misguided one.

      The British will say they were never going to be conquered, and the Battle of Britain proved that. The French will say “We paid in WW I and are having lunch now. Here are the keys, now don’t mess the place up.” The Russians will say “It could have been all ours.” 😀

      Who won or lost the war depends solely upon nationalism. None of the Allies could have done it in the time frame in which it was accomplished without the other allied nations.

    10. Word.

      If Hitler was less self centered and listened to his generals recommendations for once, the war would have ended differently. But again, if he was less obsessively self centered, the war wouldn’t had existed in the first place, I guess. Though the war was not entirely his fault but also the fault of the WWI victorious who failed to keep their feet on the ground and invested in revenge over wisdom.

      I am neither a European nor an American, but I think that dark page of human history must not be raised that lightly.

    11. True, Hitler lost because the war he fought was on two fronts, but it is undeniable that Britain was gone if not for our intervention, right? I think lol, but still those douches should not be burning our flag

    12. its slightly derogatory in my opinion to insult all english people (“those limeys”) based upon a single act in a single city.

      it seems like you need to chill out a bit

    13. I like English people, no, I love them, but shitting on my flag is not ok with me, so I wont chill out about that bud sorry. But I am sorry if I offended you or any English peeps in general, clearly the comment was meant for those who committed the act, not you or anyone else.

      ** Having said that, I have hung out in Spain with tons of British guys that called me ‘yank’, not quite endearing but not terrible either, so I guess I am asking if limeys is that offensive, if so, my bad man.

    14. The Boycott of the S*n is a little bit different to the flag burners.
      A) The flag burners were largely organised by the SOS, Spirit of Shankly, a group that I beleive is similar to the boixos nous, a bunch of fanatics/rednecks and not the majority or the LFC fanbase.
      B) Read the website, it explains what the S*n did. They are liars and scum.
      And we all know it was us Aussies that won the war 😀

  3. In comments today, Joan Oliver also noted that the club will be finishing with 30m in revenue over budgeted projections. Not bad, at least until like all of us they say “Hey! A windfall! Let’s go buy something! Like, say …. maybe an overpriced midfielder?”

  4. For not being someone of politics, I have been following our very own, and I’d stick with Ingla. Of all the issues, I really just care about the membership issues. Globalizing Barça will eventually deviate from the whole Catalunya stuff, it has to, and it seems his okay with that, opposed to other who don’t seem to keen of the idea.
    Can’t wait to see that Rosell stuff !

  5. i like barca football, the sporting aspects, and yeah it would suck if they sacked pep and changed the team and the youth system, but i dont see that happening. thinking about the money and the politics kinda ruins it for me, even if the catalans etc want the club for themselves and i cant be a member cos im not catalan, i guess i dont care, i still like watching ’em, go spain, visca barca

  6. Luke are you mental ? yes 30m is allot of money but you’ll pay that and more for a replacement but it looks like we might be after dodging a bullet by Benitez joining Inter where Mascherano will surely follow.

    More importantly is the situation with Kerrison, Florentina sent him back last night and now it looks like Barca are looking to offload him to a Brazilian club. This deal is very suspicious and not the first dodgy one between traffic and Txiki either, it has to be looked at as the guy cost 14m and it looks like Barca have no interest in ever using him.

    1. Yeah, what’s the deal with all these clubs rejecting Keirrison 🙁 ? For me, I would have liked to see him on Pelligrini coached Villareal. I think he would have flourished… Maybe the club don’t want to face him or something and that’s why they keep sending him to countries that aren’t Spain.

      To be honest, I don’t like the way we’re treating him. If we had no use for him in the first place and just bought him to stop EE from acquiring him, then that’s not cool with me at all, especially since we’ve bought Villa now. If it’s also true that we were apparently saving the #7 for Villa then that just make me more sad. If we don’t want him, we should just man up and says so. I don’t like the round about way this is going. We paid 14m for a player that won’t even play with us? The hell?

      I love Keirrison and what he has to offer; he looks a rare breed among strikers. He was doing really well in Brazil and looked like a future star. I’m scared that we might ruin this guy’s career…

  7. did you guys see iniesta’s last performance with the national team? he was more or less at his best again, hope he is fully fit for the world cup and it becomes HIS world cup. he’s got all touches available for a player except for that shooting balloon thong boy thing 😀 the second goal is such a golazo

  8. mmm…interesting to see all the backlash against so called Catalanism. I guess you need to spend time with a people without a country to somewhat understand the underlying psyche.

    There are no two ways about it. Barça = Catalunya. Yes, both Barça and Catalunya have always been open to outside influences, but it is perfectly understandable for some to be scared of being outnumbered by foreign socios one day.

    For those of us with the blaugrana in our heart, we need to understand first of all that Barça IS the heart of another people. If we cannot accept that, how are they supposed to accept us?

    1. I agree fully, Lev, but I also think that when you consider the heretofore inclusive nature of Catalanism, the “anti” stance by a few of the candidates is difficult to stomach as it slides toward xenophobia.

      I am learning the language, and am sympa to the cause even as I understand Catalunya will never be allowed to be separate from Spain, as it was in the past. I spent a day with Barcelonans/Catalans and saw Barcelona and the political world as it was from their perspective. It was intense, and eye-opening.

      But my concern is with the hyper-nationalist comments that threaten to turn Barca in an exclusionary direction. I believe that the two can coexist, that Barca can be a global power and football club without saying “You furriners get lost.”

      Yes, matches were, for decades, the only places that Catalans could go to be Catalan — to support the club, speak the language and revel in the culture. Politics and the club are inescapable and inextricable. Barca is a symbol of Catalan nationalism, and the real Catalan national team. But heretofore, the entity has been inclusive, open to all fans, and the more socis the better. The very nature of the Catalan people has been accepting of “mutts,” with an essential feeling of “if you understand, come to meet us and understand where we are, welcome.”

      As Barca represents Catalan culture and nationalist sentiment, when the club threatens to become exclusionary, people who love the club, the city and the people are justifiably concerned. I think we are allowed to manifest those concerns, and I don’t think that expression of those concerns consitutes a lack of acceptance.

      Is uncontrolled growth an issue? Really? Many are seeing in the comments about too many foreigners, echoes of Europe’s complex immigration difficulties, as many nations wrestle with the reality of unchecked immigration. You don’t have to look very deeply into Sandro Rosell’s “Here comes Russia!” example to see that.

      I want the club to become a strong club, to remain a football powerhouse and to understand its role in Catalan culture and nationalism. But I think that can continue to happen without Barca becoming exclusionary in its thinking.

    2. Are you Catalan, Lev? (That was an genuine question, not to be taken as…something else.) I’d like to hear your take on this, as a Catalan, because, well, maybe you can give a little insight and I’d be interesting in hearing it (because right now, I’m a little sad at the fact some people are just ignoring what Rosell has said).

      To be honest, I guess I could see why there would be that fear; I’m not Catalan and I’ve also never been to Catalonia/Barcelona, but here in Canada, we have Quebec that wants to be separate from Canada, kind of like how Catalonia wants be to separate from Spain, so I understand to a point.

      I don’t have an issue with Catalanismo–it’s quite the opposite, I like that they’re proud of their region and one of the reasons I love Barca; the pride the people have in their team and fielding cantera, how closely they identify with their club, it’s all so awesome–the problem I have is the extreme Catalanismo that’s rearing its ugly head. I’m sorry, but when a supposed candidate to become president of my favourite football club says racist slurs (“our boys” vs. “african kids”) so casually and hides behind so called “Catalanism”, then that’s when I get pissed.

      To me that isn’t “Catalanismo”, but a racist scumbag that should be no where near Barca, let alone aiming to be president. What this “Catalanism” has turned into is just a pissing contest between douches that have egos bigger than Thong Boy’s and Mourinho’s put together. As a Cule, I supported Barca because they entranced me with their football (and Leo Messi, who got me into fooball, was playing on their team), that they supported charities (UNICEF), that they had a definite style that they stubbornly hold onto…

      I think the people here understand that Barca = Catalunya. What they and I don’t understand is how it became “our boys” vs “african kids”. That happens at other clubs, but the thought it could happen at MY club…

      Well, that just make me really, really, really sad.

    3. Support your local team then you would not have this problem right now 🙂

    4. I believe that Real Madrid has roughly 15-20% more supporters in Spain than Barca does. That is a significant gap and would translate into a huge financial advantage were everyone to simply stick to their “local” roots and teams.

      One of the major reasons why Barca can even compete with Real Madrid in areas like the transfer market is due to Barca’s global base of supporters. Were it not for that global presence Real Madrid would have an enormous competitive advantage.

      So it’s the global support that allows Barca to make up for the disadvantage they face in terms of “local” support.

      So if everyone took your advice, there would be no money for Alves, Ibra or David Villa and it would be much more difficult to extend the contracts of Xavi, Pedro and Bojan.

    5. Hogwash. It takes a lot to rile me up and smiley faces notwithstanding, “support your local team” is just bullshit.

      I DO support the Chicago Fire, and love going to matches. Toyota Park is a great place to watch a match, with not a bad seat in the house. But anyone who thinks that watching MLS is in any way a substitute for world-class football of the sort that Barca plays is out of their minds, or a crazed MLS fanboy.

      “Support your local team” isn’t a viable answer. Does that mean that I dump my soci membership, stop spending thousands of dollars per annum to go to Barca home matches and watch only MLS on the telly and live? Really? How about providing an answer that adds something to the debate?

      People here have expressed empathy for the Catalan cause, and are here because they love one of the bright, shining symbols of Catalunya (yes, many English call it Catalonia …. I don’t). And if the club that we all support is about to be run by someone who expresses ideas and opinions that run counter to that club’s past inclusiveness, are we not right to be a bit alarmed by that?

      Or no, I guess we should just sign up for season tickets to whatever our local MLS (or Championship, or Irish League, or whatever club) side, and shut the hell up, right?

      Sorry, but that’s just disrespectful and mean-spirited.

    6. Get him.. Lol remind me never to disagree with you, and your insane use of the word hogwash.

    7. I do understand what Rosell meant. It’s a complexity in many sports. In baseball, who the heck knows how old many South American players are. People cheat on ages all the time.

      But my larger issue is that I want Barca to have the best players available in the pipeline and on the pitch. If Gael Etock is one of those players and his aga and data are verifiable, is it better to support some local kid without as much talent as Etock? Good question, and one that I don’t think Rosell is being entirely clear about. Local development of players and systems is laudable. We see the results in 7 farm products residing in our starting XI.

      Right now, candidates are saying stupid crap to get votes, so I wouldn’t get too worked up about that much of it. But Rosell is just not cutting it for me, and the more I read about him, the more I think that cutting work and grabbing a last-minute fare to get to Barcelona and vote would make my heart and mind feel better.

  9. Okay, something has to be done about Ghostface. It’s the right leg again. Sounds like a deep thigh bruise. Not sure if it’s diet, or weight training, or some specific exercises to improve flexibility and his ability to take a blow, but this is crazy.

    1. Some people just genetically have weaker muscles or tendons in certain areas. Also, sometimes when you are young or you hurt something badly, it never really recovers or does so at a lesser than 100% level. I would think this is what Andres is suffering from (similar to Ken Griffey, Jr. for those of you who may follow baseball), because it is usually his right leg and usually an internal muscular issue.

  10. Looks like Messi finally updated his website: *http://www.leomessi.com/eng/

    It kinda reminds of Andres’ for some reason (maybe because some of the answers to questions are similar…)

    Some interesting things:

    His favourite move is Ronaldinho’s elastica

    His TV series: Prison Break and Lost

    He was late playing a match for Newell’s because he was locked in a bathroom.

    When he was 10, he was 1.27m or ~4″1.

    1. A trip:

      I don’t have any particular preferences, but I really enjoyed going to Disneyland.

      ROFL hahaha 😀

  11. Iniesta’s recurrent injuries are a real problem. Hamstring tears can become chronic, recurrent problems and the world cup comes at a difficult time for him.

    He’s at risk for re-tearing that muscle in game action for the cup. It would have been preferable for him to be able to rest the entire summer and prepare for next season with more therapy. But that’s not possible.

    Unfortunately, the club doesn’t have the luxury to go into next season assuming Iniesta is going to be healthy ore will be able to play a full schedule.

    Xavi is getting older an was injured last season. Iniesta is recurrently injured. They do need a plan for what to do should Iniesta and/ or Xavi get injured. That might be Thiago or JDS. It might mean bringing in a more experienced player.

    What they can’t count on right now is that it has to be Fabergas. If they think JDS and Thiago are ready for major minutes – including CL playing time – then they have internal solutions. But if Pep wants more experience to create depth then they cannot afford to put all of their plans on getting Fabergas. They need a plan B because Iniesta’s fitness is a real concern.

    It would not be surprising for Iniesta to re-tear that hamstring in the world cup and miss extended time next season. They need to prepare for that possibility.

    1. I didn’t think it was a hamstring problem. Was it not a calf muscle? I agree hamstring would be worrying. Calf less so – look at Messi.

    2. SPORT is reporting that the problem is in his thigh. I believe it’s the back so it seems like its his hamstring.

  12. He is right in a way and I agree with him. However how can we be so sure it’s a fake birth certificate? Btw you can’t call Rosell a racist. That man did charity work in Africa!
    Back on topic, when the African kids are brought here, they come with fake birth certificates. E.g. a 15 year old stating in his certificate, 12 years old. So he will join the the 12 year old age category. Obviously they have the physical advantage here. And that will ruin the chances of the 12 year old kid who dreamt of becoming a pro-football player one day.
    But once they reach a certain age where they stop growing, they will lose that physical advantage that they enjoyed and all of a sudden they are not special anymore. What will happen to them? Send them back to Africa? And what about the children who were benched or simply given away by the club a few years back who we thought were not good enough?

    So actually Rosell is protecting La Masia as he wants us to develop Spanish players instead of importing the African kids with fake birth certificates.

    1. It’s a good thing the youth teams don’t emphasize size, strength, and physical advantages. Otherwise your 12 year old scenario could come true. Luckily that is not what’s happening

    2. That man did charity work in Africa!
      Back on topic, when the African kids are brought here, they come with fake birth certificates. E.g. a 15 year old stating in his certificate, 12 years old. So he will join the the 12 year old age category. Obviously they have the physical advantage here. And that will ruin the chances of the 12 year old kid who dreamt of becoming a pro-football player one day.

      I find the logic of your argument to be flawed in many ways. In the spirit of trying to open up a dialogue on this I’m going to address the points you raise one by one.

      First, the idea that just because someone has done charity work means that it’s impossible for them to be racist is incorrect as a point of fact. It has unfortunately been very common that political movements and cultures that are explicitly racist have engaged in “charity” work out of a sense of paternalism and political advantage.

      King Leopold supported numerous charitable initiatives in during the Belgian Colonial period in the Congo. Are you seriously going to suggest that this proves that Leopold wasn’t overtly racist?

      Second, why is it only Africa that Rosell sights as a problem of improper documentation? For example, by what he says he seems to suggest that it’s no an issue for kids from Latin America or Asia. And that’s ridiculous. Why Africa in particular? I can tell you that in American Baseball it’s that young kids from Latin America have been found have presented falsified birth certificates suggesting they were 16 when in fact they were older. So the idea that it’s Africa in particular is incorrect.

      But for Rosell to say otherwise after Messi is the most important player on the team would make him look ridiculous. So he conveniently brow beats kids from Africa.

      Third, do you really believe this is only a problem for Barca and their youth program. But why do I not hear these concerns voiced by Arsenal or Benefica’s presidents? Why is it Rosell that has to make these statements as if it’s only a problem that his ethnic group and organization have to deal with?

      In an age when you have to find talent globally it is sheer incompetence to blow off a content. By Rosell’s logic, it makes sense to ignore the next Michel Essien because he’s from Africa and his identity can’t be “verified.”

      Fourth, why does he make blanket accusations of all African youngsters? That’s not problematic or even racist? The logic of this argument makes people guilty by the identify of the group they belong to rather than their individual actions. By this logic all African children are not to be trusted. And that is a very old, tired, bigoted argument.

      Fifth, Rosell is turning a problem of documentation (birth certificates, etc) and turning it into a problem of national and ethnic identity. That is reprehensible. And there is a very long, ugly history of people doing such things for some kind of political gain.

      If the problem is with birth certificates focus on fixing the documentation. Not barring kids because of the continent they happen to come from, a continent which makes them uniformly guilty in the eye of Rossell.

      Sixth,, do you really think this is a problem unique to football? American Baseball has dealt with the same issue with kids coming from Latin America. But I have never, ever heard the president of an American Baseball team suggest anything as close minded as Rosell did.

      I’ve never heard any professional in baseball even come close to suggesting that because there are challenges in verifying birth ages kids from Latin America should be banned or excluded so that we can give “our kids” a better chance.

      Instead, what they are doing in baseball is implementing a standardized procedure for verifying the age of children. And it’s worked very well without excluding anyone based on their country of origin.

      Why does Rosell not suggest such a program? A program which fixes the specific issue – errors in documentation – rather than make a has out of identity?

      Seventh, who exactly are the “our kids” he’s referring to? Should it be only Catalan youths who are protected from the unfair competition from those African kids? Spanish kids? Europen? Western?

      Where is he drawing the line about who is included and who is excluded?

      Because depending on where you draw that line, Leo Messi or JDS or Pedro could easily fall outside of that line.

    3. Damn. Euler with The Knowledge. Unfortunately, that is Hector’s nickname already, however. 😀

    4. Disclaimer: Ingla is the one I would like to see as our new Presi.

      You are overreacting. The issue in question doesn’t warrant itself the tone and the amount of words you had used.

      “Second, why is it only Africa that Rosell sights as a problem of improper documentation? I can tell you that in American Baseball it’s that young kids from Latin America have been found have presented falsified birth certificates…”

      The physical attributes needed for these two sports are very different. Football requires long distance running and sprints while in baseball the premium is on eye-hand coordination and upper-body strength. If we look at the Olympic history of the short and long distance running, the pattern emerges. Comparison wise, kids from South America are not as nearly athletically gifted (strength, height, endurance) as the African kids and have to in return focus at the ball handling skills and great desire (something messi is well known for). Consequently, those kids (and their parents) find less than inviting to try to cheat on their age.

      “Third, do you really believe this is only a problem for Barca and their youth program. But why do I not hear these concerns voiced by Arsenal or Benefica’s presidents?”

      Speaking in general (and not related on the topic of alleged racism), this is some poor logic. If we discover a way to improve something with our own club we should do it. The fact that others didn’t recognize the issue and/or don’t know how to fix it should mean nothing to us. We need to constantly look to improve our on and off-the-field model of going about our business.

      “By Rosell’s logic, it makes sense to ignore the next Michel Essien because he’s from Africa and his identity can’t be “verified.”

      Please tell me that you don’t actually believe in this sentence you wrote?

      It is my guess Rosell has had to have some knowledge of the actual incidents that happened at La Masia. Incidents that involved African kids. Otherwise he wouldn’t brought it up.

      In general, we all need to do a better job reading and trying to put someone’s statements in the proper and broader context before making a hint of racism.

    5. To clarify, the point of my post was not to make any statements on whether Rosell is or isn’t racist. I’m not trying to draw any conclusions in that regard.

      My point was that his statements are problematic because he is the potential leader of a global business that is participating in a highly competitive market for talent. As such, making exclusionary statements that single out and make generalizations about particular groups is not helpful to the organization.

      It’s particularly problematic that he turned an issue of documentation into an issue of identity.

      That’s not helping the club.

    6. Regarding Rosell: He is heavenly involved in Qatar’s Aspire academy. One role of Aspire is to bring kids from all over the world(as an example, look at Sebastian from Qatar’s national team. Great to have an Arab named Sebastian) and turn them into Qatari nationals for future sporting success. A lot of those youngsters are from Africa. He is perfectly fine with that, but has a problem with Africans at Barca.

      The man is pathetic.

    7. Thanks for the clarification. I am just vary of any kind of discussion drifting away towards the point where someone is going to throw in the word “racism”.

      His statement is nothing but a try to score some cheap political points with the Catalans. It was my understanding that his dad is/was high up in the hierarchy of one of the right-wing (nationalist) parties. Like I said, it is pretty safe to guess that there were some recent cases at La Masia where the African kids were discovered to have been cheating on their age. He was just echoing those.

      It still doesn’t make a lot of sense though. Looking at the number of players that came out of La Masia in the last 20 years or so, a very small percentage of them were African. Further more, people at La Masia always emphasized how they are always putting premium at that age at the skill and brains rather than physicality. If thats the case, being more physical shouldn’t be much of an advantage at all.

      Rosell is an outspoken figure. Making controversial statements and being involved in a police investigation is certainly not something our Presi should be known for. This is in part why I said that Ingla would be the best (least bad) solution overall.

      It is easy for us to judge from the distance. But the steady dose of history, nationality and politics on a daily basis and in the near environment are known to cloud ones judgment and ability to look at the bigger picture.

  13. *http://www.sport.es/default.asp?idpu…dseccio_PK=800

    Touré: I’ve played as an attacking midfielder, I’ve played as a defensive midfielder, I even played as a central back and I always did excellently.

    Txiki: Well, now you have to play a key role in Cesc’s transfer…and I hope you will do excellently.

    Sport is right.
    Yaya played in each of those positions near perfect but its still not enough sigh

    1. It’s enough for us. But he wants to leave for a place where he is the full-time, no questions asked starter. If he can swing that kind of a deal, good luck to him, until his club squares off against us. Then I hope that flying monkeys carry him away.

    2. We will miss yaya specially in this blog but he’ll miss FCB soon too don’t worry. Is it better to be kinda secondary in a kickass team or to be another falling star in a team nobody looks at? It’s true that he should have started in more games, not only as DM but as OM also with andres out for so long, so pep could be one to blame for this I think. Yaya should be a star in Barcelona specially after his performances in the triplete season but Pep didn’t treat him that way, he even put Busquets over yaya. If the man wants to leave then it’s taking him too long already. Could it be because kolo is in city also? 🙁 If I was him I’d NEVER go to city

  14. that jaume ferrer dude looks like he was taken out of Daniel CLowes comics… he scares the shit out of me look at his face!!!

  15. Ferrer = Fredo

    Ingla…well, not really Tom Hagen but still the closest one.

    Sandro…probably Sollozzo

    Agusti….hm….probably Michael’s wife Kay…

    Ingla has to win. Sandrusco will probably ship all African players in our Masia to his Aspire academy in Qatar, because at Barca, only small catalan kids are allowed to play in La Masia.

  16. Wow interesting thread, really.

    Kari, I am not Catalan so I can’t help you there. I am Dutch, which I guess is as close to Catalan as it gets for me, lol (thank you Cruijff!!).

    Although I am moving back to Venezuela very soon I live in Montreal, QC, right now so the “spending time with people without a country” comment was in part a nod to the Quebecers. I have also known a lot of Palestinians and Kurds, although their situation is a lot more extreme.

    kxev thnx for your llllooong reply i was at work and did not get the chance to respond. Agree with a lot of things you are saying. I also would hate for Barça to become exclusive, but I (yikes) understand Rosell’s concern for uncontrolled growth. It is one thing to include others, it is another one to wake up 50 years from now and find that foreigners make up the majority of vote wielding socios of an essentially Catalan institution. I do not think it is necessarily xenophobic for Catalans to be concerned about this, but I hope a good balance will be struck.

    I also would like to know the context of Rosell’s comments about the African players. In Europe, as far as I know, there has never been an age issue with South Americans, but with Africans big time. I don’t know if it is possible to fully verify one’s age and most African nations have more important things to deal with other than properly documenting people’s birth dates.

    A far bigger problem is what happens to the African players who come and are deemed not good enough, a point raised by a fellow commentator above. Well, there are reportedly over 10.000 African boys / young men living in Europe illegally due to being unceremoniously dumped by their would be employers when found unworthy of further investment. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a modern slave trade, but a meat market is not that far off. For every Sami Eto’o how many kids are sleeping in a makeshift camp without any legal ways of making a living right now?

    I know Leo Messi and his family were well taken care of when he came to Catalunya as a 4ft2 superflea, but I am very curious to know if this is the rule rather than the exception when it comes to Barça’s importation of foreign youngsters.

    And yes, I love the fact that Messi has been with us since he was 13, but I do not like at all that EPL teams are swooping around my country’s youth academies like vultures, wengering teams like Feyenoord and Ajax of our homegrown talent at an age when they are not yet legally allowed to drink or do drugs (hey, I’m from Holland ;P )

    I personally long for the days of my childhood when European teams were allowed to field only 3 foreigners at a time, something that not only helped to guard our clubs’ identities but also ensured a better balance between all European teams since it prevented the powerhouses from buying all the world’s best players.

    I don’t think anybody in their right mind would argue for F.C. Barcelona to become 100% exclusive, but culés are rightfully proud of the Catalan players representing el Barça and by all means they should protect this part of our beloved club’s culture.

    1. hey…
      my Dad is a Cruyffian too. Hence my life long support for Ajax & Barca.
      many good points you stated up there.
      and especially regarding the Ajax & Feyenoord youngsters. PSv really don’t produce talents :p

  17. and many thanks to Euler and Tom Johnson for giving us good points.
    this is the only forum/blog i dared to post that. it it was at another one, i wouldve been ridiculed 😆

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