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.Â 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 bothÂ disingenuousÂ 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.