Of Politics and Football: The 2010 Barça Elections (pt 3)

Previously I covered the three of the candidates for Barça president (here and here) and now it is down to the final candidate. As Kevin pointed out in the comments, we socis have received our official invitations to vote on Sunday along with our table assignments. It is with great sadness that I have to announce that I will be unable to attend and vote in what otherwise would have been my first Barça election. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth going on in my household today.

This post concerns the final candidate to be reviewed:

Alexandre “Sandro” Rosell i Feliu. Born March 6, 1964 in Barcelona. Official site.

Rosell is a Catalan businessman in the sports marketing industry and soci number 12,556. He Most notably he was the Sports Marketing Director for Nike in Spain and Portugal and then later for the whole of South America where, among other things, he negotiated the Nike contract with the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF). He founded a sports marketing company, Bonus Sports Marketing, S.L., which he claims he will sell if he is elected president to avoid any conflicts of interest (as best as I can tell he founded it in 2002, but this might be erroneous; if it was founded in 2002, how was it not a conflict of interest when he was Barça’s VP?). He joined forces with Joan Laporta in 2003 and became the Vice President of Sports Operations until 2005 when he split with the administration and resigned.

Rosell’s official platform can be found here in Spanish and here in Catalan.

His immediate sporting plan is unclear because he refuses to discuss it in-depth. He would keep Guardiola, of course, but Txiki’s future remains in doubt simply because Rosell has both said that he would altogether eliminate the “Director of Football” position at Barça and talk to Txiki concerning the future. Rosell’s answers to whether he would or would not keep Txiki around are, in many ways, obfuscations of a plan he already has in mind. What the plan will be is open to interpretation, but because of that, the only logical conclusion is that if Rosell does eliminate Txiki’s position, it will be he himself making the final decisions regarding players. Clearly Rosell sees himself in that light as he brought in Ronaldinho and was a member of the board when Pedro, Jeffren, and Busi all started in La Masia. It’s a interesting to note that Rosell appears to have a problem with Cruyff being as influential in the club as indeed he is, up to and including the “honorary president” status that he received this year. Whether or not Rosell will actually break with the Cruyff model–which Guardiola certainly represents–is something that also cannot be answered because of the vagueness with which he approaches any questioning. What is clear is his desire to not have worldwide academies because he believes they don’t work and are expensive. He prefers to bring in foreign players by buying them than developing them outside of La Masia.

His economic plan appears to be fairly similar to that of Ingla, with one notable exception. Like Ingla, he is pushing international expansion–and directly thanking Nike in his platform for helping the Barça brand expand as much as it has (“La marca “Barça” se está haciendo global gracias a los resultados deportivos, a la televisión, a UNICEF, a Nike y a las nuevas tecnologías…”)–especially through “ambassador” roles. As with all the candidates, buzzwords and business phrases fill the majority of his economic plan: “increase revenue and reduce spending” “recapitalize the club and reduce debt”; no real plan of action is mentioned, of course, but it’s probably fairly safe to assume a model along the lines of the Ingla and Ferrer platforms is the idea.

His most worked out plans appear to be the expansion of the area around the Camp Nou (Les Corts): “Remodelación interior del Camp Nou, un nuevo Palau Blaugrana y un gran Parque Central.” — “Remodeling the interior of the Camp Nou, [building] a new Palau Blaugrana [where Barça basketball is played], and [building] a Central Park. Random, not very explanatory video here. The overall plan includes keeping the Miniestadi and not going with the Norman Foster concept for remodeling the Camp Nou while acquiring new assets (it appears that a hotel or condo building is involved in this from the video).

As for the members:

Si queremos que los socios puedan recibir más y mejores servicios tenemos que regular la entrada de nuevos socios con el empeño de que el crecimiento no sea sólo cuantitativo sino también cualitativo en servicios, atenciones y contraprestaciones.
If we want members to be able to receiver more and better services, we have to regulate the entrance of new members so that growth is not just cuantitative, but also qualitative in services, attention, and tradeoffs.

Rosell’s statements concerning new members are basically aimed at new, foreign members. A major part of his platform is that Catalunya is not only the focal point of Barcelona, but that it is the point of Barcelona and any intrusion into that realm by foreign members is a negative. I base this subjective assertion on his statements that foreign members, if their numbers are allowed to continue to grow unchecked, will soon be able to out-vote Catalan members and elect whoever they so choose: “40.000 people of Siberia could become club member[s] and decide who will be the new president. We don’t want to lose the Catalan identity of the club. We need to regulate the members.” (quote taken from here)

The opening to Rosell’s platform is about Catalan identity and that Catalan nature of the club. It would be both presumptuous and preposterous of me to assert that Barcelona is not a Catalan institution or at all connected to the notions of Catalan culture, society, and even independence, but it is worth noting that there is a different between pride in one’s culture and region, and nationalism. Forgive me for delving into politics for a moment: the exclusionary nature of “nationalism” is one of the blights on modern society (see Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070, for instance) and is often thinly veiled racism. What I mean is: Rosell recently discussed the influx of African players into la Masia in terms of them taking the place of our boys. When challenged about whether or not Lionel Messi should have arrived, what with him being foreign and all and taking the place of our boys, he dismisses it because it suddenly becomes a question of legal documentation rather than where you’re from.

What nationalism often does is rationalize what is accepted and what is not because the accepted parts are “most like us”. A man whose claim to the presidency resides not only on his birth in Catalunya, but also in his international business career, his ability to bring in players like Ronaldinho, Pedro, and Jeffren, dismisses players from Africa because they are ruining the hopes and dreams of local boys. Pedro and Jeffren, of course, are like us, they’re Spanish speakers, they’re not different, they’re not black. African players, of course, have never done a thing for Barça. “Foreign members” strikes a cord in an economically down time in Barcelona, not because they fear the influx of Russians or Americans, but rather because there is real social tension between Spaniards and African immigrants, just as there is real social tension between white Arizonans and Latino immigrants.

Barcelona stands for a lot of things, including Catalyuna’s right to exist and have its own culture, but the rejection of outside influence from one source and not another is not an attempt to be more Catalunyan, but rather to stoke fears and prey on social tensions. To reject Africa players and African influence, but not reject Argentine players and Argentine influence is nothing less than racism. Sandro Rosell preaches Catalanism alongside international solidarity, but stokes nationalist flames with rhetoric better suited to fringe party rallies than the board room of a football club. It is unacceptable that a club such as Barcelona, which claims to be above the general fray and be a beacon of light in the darkness (més que un club, after all), would elect a man whose platform has few to no concrete policies and is willing to espouse racist and xenophobic fear-mongering.

I apologize to those of you who wish to discuss only the sporting endeavors of this great club, but it is impossible to follow this club as closely and lovingly as I do and not be drawn into the political cesspool from time to time. I cherish this club because it stands for a myriad of things beyond football, including international solidarity, Catalunya’s right to have its own language and place in history (and if it so chooses, independence), and a belief that a football club can make a difference beyond the field of play. And it can. But it can also be used for evil and Sandro Rosell, despite his Tots som el Barça campaign slogan, does not want everyone included in the Barcelona family.

My Take: A vote for Sandro Rosell is a vote for xenophobia at best and racism at worst, with a sprinkling of hypocritical “universality” thrown in. He is not a decent candidate by any stretch because his social approach is devoid of decency and devoid of logic. He falls into nationalist rhetoric and emerges a morally bankrupt man whose entire candidacy rests on shouting hatred from the rooftops. Reprehensible and disgusting, to say the least.

If he were to cut out his social plans, he would at least be in line with Ferrer and Benedito, if not also Ingla, and I could easily deal with him winning. Even if he’s not serious about limiting membership or even if once elected he would silence his attacks on African players and work on the legal issue in a straightforward manner rather than making “an issue of documentation into an issue of identity” (quote from a comment thread starting here, which is worth your time), he is using the tried and true method of fear and hatred to win an election. And that is vile and unacceptable.

If you think Rosell can lead us the best, that is all well and good, but to deny that he is using hatred to fuel his campaign is to deny a major part of what he stands for. I do not know his political background, but I do know that of all the candidates, I want the least to do with this one. My choice is Marc Ingla and were I a richer man, I would be in Barcelona to cast my vote. But I am, unfortunately, neither and that makes me sad.

The World Cup starts tomorrow morning (here in the US) and will take up the majority of our time for the next month. I will discuss the winner of the election on Monday and we’ll talk about some of the other things that come up during that time, but in general, get ready for a lot of Luke’s posts and the occasional editorial from me.

Visca el Barça and may the best candidate win.

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. Woah… in the “Breaking News” category, apparantly Valencia used some of the David Villa money to go out and bu Roberto Soldado from Getafe…

    I personally don’t think he is gooe enough, but I also don’t think Valencia have the spending power.

  2. I’ve waited until this time for my say about the presidential elections and there are as follows.

    1. I am not yet a socio, so I could not vote anyway.

    2. I am in favor of no candidate really because they all seem to be playing the “Catalunya above all else” card, which is silly and completely ignores the fact that no matter the original basis for a club or its history, in the modern world, as a matter of morals and course, one should not be stricken from entering a private group or establishment because they cannot speak a certain language or are not a certain nationality. It’s not just Rosell, they have all been playing this game, courting this vote, and it is nauseating.

    Aside from the fact that this is just wrong (as Isaiah noted, it is in some ways similar to the anti-Hispanic fervor of some in Arizona, US), it is also categorically stupid in terms of business. The world is in a period of recession, even Barcelona, so why turn away people paying hundreds of dollars to become socios at a time like this? Also, why turn away new fans across the globe, Barcelona can no longer subsist as a global soccer power on solely Spanish, nay Catalan fans. No worldwide club is courting this kind of idiocy: Madrid, Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Inter, Milan, etc. It’s just bad business, period.

    The world does not revolve around Catalunya, nor does Barcelona, because if the candidates want to only go with local boys, that may work now, during the Spanish resurgence, but what about in a few years?

    3. No matter what we think, for the most part, every presidential candidate is a giant ass. Sure, Laporta may have won a bunch of stuff and made some good signings, but he’s still an unrepentant jerk, just ask Isaiah. Sure everyone here hates Florentino Perez or Moriatti at Inter, but come on, Laporta’s a jerk, he’s just OUR jerk.

    1. Laporta can be smug, is a real politician and always has a big stupid pie-eating grin on his face, but i just can’t compare him to Perez. that’d be like comparing your obnoxiously self-obsessed class president angling for an Ivy League scholarship to, well, Emperor Palpatine cackling as he blows up Alderaan.

    2. Like they said in south Park, in political elections, the choice is always between douches and turds. They are the only ones who can suck up enough to reach the top

  3. I apologize to those of you who wish to discuss only the sporting endeavors of this great club, but it is impossible to follow this club as closely and lovingly as I do and not be drawn into the political cesspool from time to time.

    The fact of the matter is that this election will have a massive effect on the sporting endeavors of the club. We are currently experiencing a period of unprecedented success. This success didn’t begin with Pep, but rather is the result of 6 years of following a sporting plan. The most important thing for our sporting success right now is stability – it is what has gotten us this far, and we must maintain this stability if we wish to maintain our sporting success.

    All the other issues are important, but this is the most important to many of us. The problem with Rosell is he is deliberately not talking about his vision for the sporting aspect of the club because if he did, people wouldn’t vote for him. He has spoken about renewing Pep for six years… with “performance targets” to be met – that sounds an awful lot like “if Pep has a bad year, he’s gone” to me. He is also building off his reputation as a man who can get big transfers done. Finally, he is so anti-Laporta that he will be unwilling to accept the success of the team built by Laporta, he will need to make changes to satisfy his ego.

    I know elections aren’t as interesting as our football, but the football is a result of the (relative) stability we’ve had, and we need to maintain that stability.

  4. Well said. Mes que un club. What kind of “more” will that be – both in terms of the off the field mission and in terms of the management of the sporting operation.

    Barca is poised to create a run of success that club football has not witnessed for years. All of the fundamentals for a sporting dynasty are in place – a dynasty that would capture the imagination of people around the world.

    But all that stands in the way are politics. And that’s a set of forces that has ruined many a dynasty.

    Rosell seems like a poor choice at so many levels. In terms of the sporting mission, it seems there’s a very high risk of him interfering extensively with how players are developed, acquired and deployed. LaPorta may have had his weaknesses but he fundamentally understood the importance of roles and lines of authority in any organization. He is not an expert in sporting and he fortunately stayed out of it.

    As mundane as it sounds – that even more than Messi or Xavi may have been the biggest advantage Bara had over Real Madrid over the past several years.

    Rosell strikes me as someone who may move the club closer to the top down President dominated model of Perez and Real. That would create chaos and ruin the sporting mission. I can’t see Pep staying on board for that.

    In terms of the non-sporting issues – he is highly problematic for multiple reasons which Isiah has explained at length. At so many levels the them of his campaign is one of exclusion. That’s the recurring echo.

    And that’s just not where the world is right now. It’s true – you don’t hear this kind of exclusionary language from the leadership of any other top club in the world.

    We can only watch the elections and hope. But were Rosell to win it could be ruinous.

  5. Sport did a liveblog with ‘Alexandre’ Rosell –


    1. //http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-worldcup-20100610,0,4718568.story

      i’m gonna try & check out this south african pub by my pad. been there before, but never for a game.

  6. Interesting note on messi’s fitness


  7. *http://www.moshi.ir/1389/02/13/عکسهایی-از-شکستن-مچ-پا-در-فوتبال-15عکس/

    1. Well, that’s the last time I go to a randomly posted link.

      Consider my lesson learned.

  8. True to those who claimed “stability and longer term vision” brought us an edge over Madrid. I fear that if we go with Sandro Rosell that we might lose this. I don’t mind an occassional supertransfer after all we are a very succesfull football club who has a history of buying extremely talented players. Yet it is the fact that for the last couple of years we have shown more patience than most clubs, but this is in large part due to circumstances (Rijkaard 1st year we had financial issues and during the 2007 and 08 campaign we had had the successes of 05-06 as to show some restraint before axing Rijkaard) btw anybody else feels like we lost because Henk Ten Cate left us?

    If you show patience and you have a sound economic policy coupled with quality players and ditto coach = succes will eventually follow. In contrast it mostly works the other way around, if you have succes instantly you will get the chance to prove yourself on the longer term.

    We have excellent players, young talents in waiting, a good economic situation and alot of international prestige and goodwill. If the board keeps his calm, should a second place liga finish arrive oneday, we’ll be set for renewed succes over a long period

    All we need are a couple of bad seasons coupled with multiple managerial-switches and some disastrous transfers, a few try-to-fix-it-all-transfers (Geovanni, Rochemback, Christanval, Bonano,…) and you get the picture. If Sandro choses short term succes we’ll be in the Gaspart-era in no-time.

  9. To poipoi and the rest, fbtz.com is now open for registration, you might want to hurry and take this opportunity because registration can close at any time. Also, there will be a million World Cup games available to download, so now is the perfect time to join.

  10. Isaiah, Amazing post. The balance between political correctness and passionate directness is very well struck in this post. Apart from obvious amount of research that has gone into this.

  11. Wow. Very strong opinion. Allow me to respectfully disagree.

    First off, I am worried about Rosell winning because of his apparent desire to have more control over player transfers. Who on earth would think it a good idea to have a president who wants to be technical director at the same time? His connection with Nike inspires me with even less confidence. It is not good for the club if any person with a say over which players to attract is influenced so directly by corporate interests.

    So nay to Rosell for me.

    However. Claims of being racist for wanting homegrown players over African kids, mweeeeh I really do not agree with and comparisons with Arizona’s new immigration policies are in my opinion ridiculous and somewhat insulting.

    Isaiah, I don’t mean ridiculous in an offensive way but it is over the top and in my eyes it shows a significant lack of understanding of both European football and possibly also of “illegal” immigration.

    First of all there is a difference between being racist vs not wanting to scour the planet for talented teenagers. Or do you think Rosell would want to prevent African kids who already live or are born in Catalunya or Spain from joining la Masia as well? Neither is he trying to prevent people who come to his country access to hospitals or deny their children an education, nor is he campaigning for the police to have the right to stop and search people on the street based on their color. As far as I know, at least.

    Try to understand the differences between football for us and American sports. In American sports very few players play for their local team. Are any of you fan of your home team? If so, tell me that you are not excited when a local guy is playing for your hometeam and I will call you a liar. Of course not, he is from where you are from which likely means he loves your team just as much as you love it if not more.

    That feeling in Europe is even more exacerbated by the fact that all our clubs play each other in what are now the Champion’s League and the Europa League. Our teams represent our regions and countries like in a watered down version of the European Cup. Do you understand what I am getting at? Given Barça’s status as the team that represents Catalunya that feeling is logically even stronger.

    This doesn’t mean that we don’t embrace the foreign players who do play for us. But there has to be a balance.

    I personally hope a law will be put in place in Europe to ban teams from signing teenagers from other countries, if nothing else than for the reason that we should not deprive those other countries from their talent at such young age, whether they are from Greece or Ghana I don’t care. I find it more exciting for “Mes que un club” to actively support African football in Africa.

    I could write an equally long post defending the idea of controlling membership in some form or the other. I will try to keep it shorter. I think it is perfectly understand to not want foreign members to outnumber local members. Historically at least Catalunya has been open to immigrants and Barça was one of the ways for newcomers to integrate. It is not xenophobic with being concerned about an albeit far off day where members who live on the other side of the world would have more voting power than born and bred culés who were glued to the tv screen for every match since when they were 5 years old. Barça is their birth right, so to speak.

    Don’t get me wrong I think it is awesome that Isaiah and Kxev are socios and I wish I could say the same. Suffice to say that my personal situation does not allow it and will do so even less after my imminent move to a warmer climate.

    Anyway, here again, a balance should be struck. I kind of like the idea of being eligible only by family relation or at a very young age. In a way, this ensures that membership would be a birth right as well, and one that I dream one day I could give to my first born son.

    If it is truely a universal club that you are after maybe we should start our own, in which the whole world would equally be represented. But like I said before Barça = Catalunya. We all love Barça on this forum and I think it is best for us to respect and accept this and the love will be mutual.

    Sincere apologies for the length of my post. I will be quiet now…

  12. This is one of the weirdest elections I’ve heard of! How can a person who hasn’t even explained to the people what his sporting manifesto is be a front runner in most of the polls so far?

    There is definitely more than meets the eye here. I have strong reason to believe these polls (newspapers, tv etc) are rigged and Rossells team are using it to convince people that he’s got some sort of aura about him and he’s some sort of supernatural. This is not going to be reflective of the final outcome IMO.

    Ingla and Ferrer will HAVE to put their differences aside and join forces though. Ferrer will have to accept this today or tomorrow and step aside in favour of Ingla who has the best team by a country mile.

    I don’t mean to open up the Fabregas debate again, but I one of the few here who feel we could really do with him in our ranks. We have to admit that just like Robben and all the brilliance he brings to the table Iniesta is waaaaaaaaaaaay to injury prone!!! and that’s a fact based on his injury history over the past few years. He’s been consistently on the treatment table for at least 2 months every season for the last 3 seasons. I’ve read Kxevin say along with so many others that Thiago and Dos Santos are ready for playing time. I’m sure they are but we don’t want to throw them in the deep end like we did Bojan cos we can all safely say that Bojan would have been a far better player if he was drafted into the senior side with a little more caution.

    The price don’t matter. It’s not that I’m oblivious to the fact that he’s going to cost us a lot of money but he’s just 23! we are losing Yaya, XaviKeita are on the wrong side of 30, Dos Santos and Thiago may have this enormous potential but need to be dealt with carefully.

  13. Hi, A Londoner/Arsenal fan living & working in Barcelona.

    As relative neutral (I’ll pretend Cesc doesn’t exist for the benefit of this post) I have to say I agree with post above by Lev. The first point is that whilst we live in a modern world you would like to think that racism doesn’t affect high level politics and sport but sadly it does. Catalunya and indeed the rest of Spain aren’t exactly what you would up to date with political correctness (we all remember the treatment of England’s black players in a friendly against Spain and of course Eto’o). In England it’s the complete opposite and you can’t even mention another race even if completely innocuous without being beaten down. The fact is that it almost completely normal to talk like this in Barcelona. Some of the things I’ve heard over here have really shocked me but nobody bats an eyelid.

    The second point is whilst you guys are most definitely avid supporters of Barcelona the locals essentially see it as an extension of their Catalunyan identity. Sometimes it’s not even about football. The amount of Catalunyan nationalist flags (the one with the star) at any given game at the Camp Nou is extraordinary. In the absence of a internationally/FIFA recognised Catalunyan national side, Barcelona pretty much represents them in their eyes. Indeed a Catalan national team could feasibly win the world cup (whilst stripping Spain of most of their best players).

    That brings me nicely onto my next point. Whilst I completely understand that Barcelona is an international club with many foreigners in the squad, the core is mostly Catalunyan. If you had 2 players of equal ability but one Catalunyan and one African the Catalunyans would take their fellow countryman every single time. They’re fighting for their identity (if not for independence) so to lose a majority of local boys in the team would be disastrous. Like I said before Barcelona is part of their identity.

    This is why there’s such a clamour for Cesc to sign. Arsenal fans generally don’t understand what we perceive to be an obsession from the likes of Xavi but the reason is not because he is world class, it’s because he’s Catalunyan. Footballing wise it may not be the smartest move for Cesc (debatable) but politically it is the best thing he could ever do. He’d be revered even if not the central star like he is at Arsenal simply because he put his Catalan pride first.

    Staying with the foreign influence the whole “Socis” concept is a little alien to me as it’s not something that exists in England at all. We have a membership scheme but that only entitles us to match tickets and special deals but no influence on how the club is run. The situation Rosell put’s forward is a little ridiculous though. I mean you’re never going to get to a situation where a number of foreigners fly into Barcelona and actually outnumber the locals. I’m fanatic about football but I’m young and single so can afford OTT trips on football (I’ve flown to London 4 times since November and will be going again soon and probably for a game in August as well). Most of these guys would have families who need feeding whilst having a job. It’ll just never happen.

    If they’re so worried about being taken over by foreigners couldn’t they just offer associate membership for non Spanish/Catalan nationals? I mean technically I could become a Socio and vote (to the one who doesn’t want Cesc!) but would that be fair? Probably not. I understand the fear even though it is a highly speculative situation. Threat to the Catalan identity is not something that is taken to kindly, however remote the possibility is. The sad fact is a candidate only has to mention “Catalans Only!” and he will probably get a good vote and as such Rosell is the favourite (apparently).

    Sorry for another long post but it’s a very interesting issue.

  14. Not to be repetitive, but I thought I post some points I wrote in my article “The moment of truth” regarding the Identity concern involved in the election campaign:

    – The serious concern is the threat that the global fans may affect the club’s identity passively. That’s valid. Yet, we -or the Catalans between us, Barca fans- must decide what kind of Barcelona they want for the future? If it’s a club for Catalonia and Catalan fans, A.K.A another Athletic Bilbao model, the club must customize its structure likewise. Close each and every non-Catalan penya and reconsider merchandising markets. The financial return may decline, but so will the costs because the club will not take the option of signing the likes of Alves, Abidal, Yaya, Ronaldinho, Deco, Eto’o, Ibra, Messi, Iniesta… The objective of representing Catalonia will bring even more pride to the club’s Catalan fans than winning titles.

    – According to Mr. Rosell, Raul Tamudo is a more valid candidate to become Barcelona’s president than Andres Iniesta. It’s easier to pay some money to become a member than changing your blood.

    – I may not be an expert, but I am sure if the club creates a qualification round for the candidates before the presidential elections, it will solve the problem once and for all. In round one, all the candidates need to get a nominal percentage of CATALAN votes to survive till the second round where the presidential elections take place.

    This will make the Catalan members serve as the Knights of the Temple, making it impossible for the Abramovichs, Shinawatras, Gilletts and Hickses to hack the club, but will keep the door opened for the Iniestas, Messis and all the members who prove they can lead the club to more success whether they are Russian, Chinese, or …Swiss.

    That will protect the club from the global threat, but still there will be a threat of over-politicizing the club, driven by temporary national fever that will lead to regret afterward. That’s where non-Catalan fans contribute in the first qualification stage with the right of Veto. Each non-Catalan fan will have one Vote to place against one of the candidates. The candidate who collects the highest number of Vetoes (over a minimal percentage) should be disqualified for the following round. This way the final candidates will be the options approved by the Catalan community (protecting the club’s identity). At the same time, none of them will be aggressively rejected by the fans across the globe (which opposes the club’s interest and the global face of the identity coin).

    In the second stage all the fans, Catalans and non-Catalans, can safely vote for the following president with no concerns. If needed, similar arrangements could be made for the most crucial decisions depending on their nature.

    – This club is a Catalan child. Nothing will change that. No one who has any compassion toward the club will let that happen. Fans around the world spread their arms to the child, creating endless future opportunities to grow and develop. They embraced its motto and the culture -and nation- behind it. They created an engagement between its historical -local- values inspired by its past, and the global human values that can help create a better future for human kind. But they never -for a moment- forgot that this is still a Catalan child. If there is someone who can serve as a demonstration, it’s Lionel Messi. The Argentinean -football wise- owes the Catalan community through its club more than he owes his home country for the great player he became. But make no mistake; he is still an Argentinean as far as he can be.

    I smell a Hectoring post coming. 😀

  15. Ramzi is brilliant.

    On a similar note, I was thinking of modifying the current membership system slightly to “protect against the siberians.” I believe the current rule is that once you become a member you have to wait one year to vote. This rule is obviously in place so a bunch of folks don’t sign up just for the election year to skew the vote. Why not just make this period longer? If the non-voting member period was three years, wouldn’t that discourage a lot of non-passionate socios from joining? Or the period could be even longer if you like. However, I think eventually socios from other countries should be allowed to vote once they have proved their devotion to the club (personally I think flying to Barcelona is devotion enough, but this is for the people who think more along the lines of Rosell). Obviously Ramzi’s idea puts mine to shame, but I think the point to be taken from this is that there are plenty of logical ways around this issue.

    1. Also, this pointed has already been stated in broad terms, but I think it should be pointed out to people like Rosell how much influence “furriners” (as kevin would say) have had on Catalonia and the club.

      I think everyone is aware that the club was founded by a swiss guy with the help of a handful of englishmen.

      If we made a list of the best players to ever play for the Catalan “national” team, it would look like: Cruyff, Stoichkov, Iniesta, Xavi, Kubala, Di Stefano, and Pep. A solid two of those 7 are Catalan (and yes, I admit the list was biased a litte for effect.)

      The best players for the club and the ones who have done the most for it have mostly been foreign. The times when the club have had sporting success have been primarily when they have had a foreign star leading the club. The periods in which we have won multiple league titles can all be summed up by “the Kubala years,” “the Cruyff years” (during there were many foreign stars), “the Ronaldinho years”, and now “the Messi years.”

      I don’t mean to deny the Catalan nature of the club, and I am proud that the club I love can mean that to some people, but Rosell’s comments seem like he is keen on pushing away internationals to an unhelpful level. I would be cool with him saying “We don’t want foreign academies. They don’t work. They lose money.” But it seems like he is saying a little more than that.

  16. I think what scares me the most about Rosell is his sporting plan, or rather lack there of. If he changes the membership, it can be changed back. If he is a grade A jerk, we will get over it in time. But the hours of frustration that we all could suffer can not really be given back. Basically, we have been toeing the line of being too big of spenders the last few years, and I think Rosell may just push us over the line.

    The difference now is that Pep says “I want him. Can we buy him?” Txixi says, “That seems like a good idea. Do we have enough money?” And Laporta says, “If you say so, I can find the money without putting us too much in debt.” So even if we are spending a lot of money, I think there is method to it and it is part of a larger plan.

    With Rosell it will be Rosell saying, “I want him…. and him… and him… Do we have enough money? No, but I’ll pull some strings and no one will know that we are going broke.” And then once the new signings don’t work out we will have to fire the coach who failed to win the title with such good players, etc.

  17. Ramzi I remember reading your article and I remember thinking that’s not a bad idea at all. Alternatively a rule could be created that the candidate has to be Catalan, similar to presidential candidates in the US.

  18. Lastly, I think I am almost at the point where I would pay 45 to 50 million for Cesc. Along with the points about Iniesta’s health, I think we should consider the financial side of it.

    With the money from Toure, which I say will be about 30m +variables, we can buy Cesc and a replacement for Toure for 60-65 million. The net loss is about 30 m. Our DM position is weaker, but:
    1. It’s too late to apologize. We have basically pulled an Eto’o, where we are now going to sell no matter what, so we are stuck with finding the best alternative we can.
    2. Our dm position was weaker this year because Busi played instead of The Yaya. This trend was going to continue.
    3. In a year or two, Busi should hypothetically be exactly the player that Pep wants for the position.

    We also need to consider that we obviously lack depth in the midfield and need one more talented attacking mid. The cost of the attacking mid would be just about 20 million. So we can either buy two decent midfielders for about 35 million and break even, or buy a decent DM and Cesc for 60. The second scenario makes our team much better now, and even better in the future.

    We should also consider the fact that the signing of Cesc is an inevitability. At some point in the next 3 years, we are going to sign Cesc for not less than 40 million Euros. If we buy him now, we get an extra three years of him, plus we save the 20 million Euros we spend on midfield depth now. So our option are: Spend 50 million on him now and have a great player the whole time. Spend 40 million on him in 3 years, spend 20 million now on a replacement (60 total), and have a good player for three years, a great one after that. Personally, I will take the first one.

    Also, the increase in player costs this decade was enormous. There is no way of guaranteeing that Cesc is going to get cheaper. As costs increase, so will Cesc even if he is getting older. Also, this summer is a good time to buy because Madrid have yet to ruin the market. Why not do it now rather than end up paying more for him in 2 or 3 years? Think of what will happen if Arsenal actually become good in the next few years? It will make his price increase exponentially.

    Lastly, if we take his transfer fee and divide it out over the time he will be with us (which will most likely be the next 8-10 years), we are really only paying 5 million Euros of transfer a year. Compare this to a player like Henry. We spent 8 mil. a year on Henry. Or Zlatan? Probably about 10 mil. a year when all is said and done. Villa will probably be the same. Also, we should keep in mind that we are getting 10 world class years from Cesc, something that can’t be said of the three players mentioned above.

    Also, we get the added benefit of depriving our competition of their best player and putting more pressure on Madrid to spend haphazardly.

    The biggest problems I see with deal are:
    1. It is too politically motivated. Does Pep want Cesc? If he does, or kind of does, we should do it. If he is against it, we should run away screaming.
    2. Will he be okay with only play 30 games next year?
    3. Will it send the wrong signal to our youth players.
    4. Is he the type of midfielder we need to succeed next year?

    The most important factor in this deal is that I see it as an inevitability that we will pay too much for Cesc at some point in the future, and it will cause the same problems it will now. So why not just do it now when the fee is not completely outrageous and we need midfield depth anyway?

    1. Haha I knew Cesc would come up at some point so I might as well give the facts as far as Arsenal are concerned.

      The facts:

      -Cesc has a 5 years on his contract (which was signed in october 09) so all this talk of using the “webster clause” and buying out his contract is nonsense as you need to be 3 years into a contract before you can buy it out. Either way the European Club Association (I forget if that’s the right name but basically a group of the big european clubs) have agreed not to use this clause. If they took this route it could cause a big rift in european football. Either way this won’t be for at least 2 1/2 years.
      -Arsenal have stated they will not make a “counter offer” in other words Arsenal won’t name a price but Barça will have to keep coming back with a better offer.
      -It has been reported that Arsenal won’t even talk to Barça until they get an offer for £50m (€60m). The reality is that the Arsenal board will want more than this (anything up to £80m/€96m).
      -Arsenal are not in position where they need to sell (we’re one of the few clubs not in debt and making large profits due to the new stadium/high ticket prices)
      -Barcelona are nearly half a billion euros in debt despite all their success (the next Man Utd?)
      -If Cesc has a good world cup his value will increase only further.

      My Opinion(I’ll try and keep it reasonably civil):
      -The fact that Barça rate Cesc as almost the same value as Yaya is ridiculous and insulting to both Cesc and Arsenal. Yaya is a fantastic player and very effective but Cesc can single handedly win you games on regular basis. The fact that he wouldn’t play above Xavi/Iniesta is irrelevant. All this means is that these 2 players are worth more than Cesc. Cesc is still only 22. That’s a minimum of 10 years at the top and he will get better yet. Apparently the benchmark Barça are using is Xabi Alonso yet that doesn’t take into account Alonso’s age or Cesc’s contract length. The fact Barça are offering less than what they paid for Villa (a player with little resale value) shows how much they really want him. Put it this way if we offered €50m for Messi you’d laugh and tell us to stop being stupid.
      -It’s completely 100% irrelevant that Cesc used to play in the Barça youth system or that he is a Catalunyan. This does not entitle Barça to some kind of discount on the player as Txiki/Xavi/Ingla seem to be suggesting. We paid a couple of million euros (when we didn’t actually have to pay anything) + Gio Van Bronckhorst on a free transfer. It was legal, we didn’t break any rules. Unfortunate for Barça, yes, but no rules were broken. If you want him now, you’ll have to pay his value and we don’t care if you can’t afford it. He has a contract. Contrary to popular belief footballers aren’t slaves. He is on £110k a week, in a big house, driving a big car. Regardless of what Barça or Cesc want Arsenal’s decision is final. He signed the contract, he knew what the contract length meant.
      -Personally I love Cesc, he is immense and has done many great things but NO player is irreplaceable. If an offer for £60m+ comes in we should accept it (unless Arsenal think they can get more). With this sort of money we could rebuild the whole team. Gourcuff, Buffon etc etc. 3/4 very good players for the loss of 1 great player isn’t a bad thing.

      Enough Rant!

    2. The facts:
      “Barcelona are nearly half a billion euros in debt despite all their success (the next Man Utd?)”

      Nicely done. This ‘fact’ is sourced from a statement By Sandro Rosell, an ex-VP at the club and currently a candidate for the upcoming elections for the presidency – that our debt is €489m which can be deceiving to many who don’t have the requisite knowledge about finance.

      This article from a Gunner ironically clears a lot of air about the financial aspects of our club and our debt:
      (This link was posted already by a commenter in this site – credit to him/her )

      A comment worth noting from the author himself:

      “If we take the broadest definition of debt (€489m), most of it is derived from normal operations.

      The largest element here is Trade Creditors with €247m. I did not analyse all of this in the article, but the major factors are:

      – payable to suppliers €70m (normal operations)
      – payable to tax authorities €61m (normal operations)
      – remuneration payable €60m (almost certainly for bonus payments, which is “normal”, but high after Barcelona’s many trophies)
      – sporting entities payable €50m (these are the payments due to other clubs that I mentioned, which do seem on the high side, but it’s still “normal” business)

      Accruals total €106m (current €84m + non-current €22m). This includes accruals for costs which have been reflected in the P&L, but have not yet been paid. Confusingly, this category also includes deferred income, where payment has been received by Barcelona, but the club has yet to provide the services, so cannot recognise the income in the accounting period. For example, some of the money received from the Mediapro TV rights deal covers future accounting periods, so is booked here.

      The provisions are higher than I would expect, due to the disputes I mentioned above (tax, TV).

      Overall, it’s a solid P&L – how many football clubs make a profit these days? However, if the TV rights were subject to collective bargaining, presumably leading to a significant reduction in Barcelona’s allocation, it would be exposed.

      The balance sheet is also reasonable, as it has net assets, compared to many clubs which have net liabilities, but it could be healthier. You are absolutely correct that these liabilities have to be paid (and most of them are short-term), but Barcelona is a cash-generating machine, so I don’t see that as an insurmountable challenge.

      To put Barcelona’s total liabilities (“debt”) of €489m (£417m) into context, Arsenal reported total liabilities of £639m in their latest accounts – and we’re the good guys financially.

      We definitely aren’t following the footsteps of Man Utd or Liverpool so don’t assume that Arsenal is the only club that is sound financially. And we didn’t have to sacrifice our footballing success for it – which is the reason Cesc is contemplating a move away from the Emirates..

    3. OK I was off with then financial comment but it was a relatively small point compared to the rest of my point as they’ve rarely shied away from making large bids before.

      If Barça have so much money they won’t mind paying the €90m Euros that we’re asking for!

      The simple fact is Arsenal do not HAVE to sell Cesc. We will only sell if Wenger is happy to sell, if the board is happy to sell and if the money is right. Whatever the opinion of the Barça management is, is irrelevant. If you want him, you’d better dig deep in those pockets of yours.

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