Quick Note: Travel Issues


To pass the time before our review is up and to clear the air over all of this, we are reporting both the official FC Barcelona statement about yesterday’s travel issues as well as President Rosell’s letter to supporters regarding the situation. It appears to me that the blame lies with RFEF and possibly the boards of both clubs, though this seems more to have been an issue where RFEF failed to communicate to anyone in a concise or fair manner. It appears we were told numerous incorrect things while waiting for the planes to become available and then as soon as the truth was made known, we boarded the train / bus as quickly as possible to make the match. I think comments about the players / coaches regarding them being snobs or elitists for only wanting to fly are unfair, as that was obviously not the case, and Pep was unamused by of all this yesterday in his presser after the game. Eventually, President Rosell takes the blame in the matter, and I am glad he has stepped up to say so, but this does not seem something that should fall to him, but to RFEF.

FC Barcelona Official Note

FC Barcelona wishes to make clear publically the full sequence of events which have occurred over the last few hours with regards to the CD Osasuna-FC Barcelona game.
1) Since yesterday evening, the club has been aware of the serious incidents which were occurring as a result of the Spanish air traffic controllers’ strike. In the light of these circumstances, Club President Sandro Rosell personally contacted the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF) to explain the situation. Following various contacts with different Federation officials and heeding the recommendations of the Spanish Spanish Air Authorities (AENA), Sr Rosell decided to maintain the club’s original travel plans for the trip to Pamplona.

2) At 09.00 this morning the team reported to the Nou Camp to leave for Barcelona airport, but the travel plans were suspended awaiting further information from AENA, who regularly informed the club throughout the morning that the scheduled flight was being cancelled, but guaranteeing that another flight would be available at some point during the morning.

3) The club continued to maintain contact with the RFEF, who as a result of the exceptional circumstances informed the club that the game had been postponed and would take place tomorrow, Sunday, at 17.00. The club accepted this decision, although it affected negatively the preparations for Tuesday’s Champions League game against Rubin Kazan.

4) Following the decision by the RFEF, the club prepared another travel plan which involved taking a high speed train to Zaragoza at 17.00 and then taking a coach for the rest of the journey to Pamplona.

5) To the club’s great surprise, at about 15.00, the RFEF again contacted the club to inform us that despite their earlier decision, they had now decided that the game must go ahead today and that the team would risk forfeiting the three points if it failed to turn up. This note was also signed by the Spanish League (LFP).

6) FC Barcelona has expressed its indignation to the RFEF at the damage to the club’s sporting interests, its image and its supporters, as a result of the RFEF’s indecisiveness. The club accepted the decision to play the game today and set up an emergency travel plan which involved leaving by train an hour earlier than planned, at 16.00, with the intention of playing the game against CD Osasuna as soon as the team arrive in Pamplona.
Barcelona, 4 December 2010

President Rosell: Open Letter to Club Members and Supporters

Below we reproduce the open letter from Club President Sandro Rosell to the Club’s members and supporters.
Dear members and supporters of FC Barcelona,

The events which occurred on Saturday surrounding the match which the first team played in Pamplona demand a calm reflection. Firstly, I wish to publically congratulate our team and back room staff who once again showed that they are capable of turning the most serious problems into a challenge to be faced. The win in Pamplona has an extraordinary merit.

Over the last few hours, I have read and listened to all kinds of comments about the situation which occurred. We have been criticised for our lack of prevision and our communication strategy. In addition, our actions as a club in dealing with the problem have been questioned. I personally assume all responsibility for everything which happened before the game on Saturday. I had all the dealings with the RFEF and I accept full responsibility for everything that occurred as a result. I believed in the word of the Federation officials and of the representatives of AENA and, despite my mistakes I have always acted in the interests of the Barça above all. We will draw our conclusions from this experience for the future.

The members deposited their confidence in me to preside over the Club and this enormous responsibility obliges me to be self critical for the good of the Club. I accept and understand that my actions may be criticised, but I will not stand injustice. And it is unjust to accuse our executives and even our coach and the players of not wanting to travel to Pamplona unless it was by plane. That is absolutely untrue, unjust and unacceptable, since all the decisions in this matter were taken and/ or authorised personally by me. The professional attitude and commitment with which our staff and players faced up to the journey and the game in Pamplona, is the only thing which they should be judged on. I only have words of thanks and pride for them.

I would like to finish this letter by asking you all, now more than ever, to show your support and unity, which is very necessary right now. The challenges we face are formidable and we need the support of you all. More than any other consideration, the common interests of Barça have to be foremost at all times. That is and always will be my firm commitment and resolution.

Yours Sincerely,

Sandro Rosell
President of FC Barcelona

Image: December 3, 2010 – Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe

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  1. Zain
    December 5, 2010

    Did anyone else notice how David Villa already started celebrating when Messi hit the post in the first half ? Man, that was hilarious !
    But i guess its the belief that team mates have in Messi to always finish his chances (as he did for his 1st goal). Its really unbelievable ! 😀

    • BTTFCule
      December 5, 2010

      LOL I noticed that too. It was both funny and heart warming 🙂

      • Alexinho
        December 5, 2010

        What a freaking goal that could have been. Messi started celebrating himself.

        • MoSSi
          December 5, 2010

          Haha I really like the way Villa celebrates with his teamates, watch what he does with Messi after the first goal.. Messi didn’t even score! LOL..

    • Helge
      December 5, 2010

      In which minute of the match was this incident? 😀

  2. Vj
    December 5, 2010

    There’s no doubt that this was some kind of conspiracy against us..

    I really pity the sorry souls who thought this would affect us, they know that we can’t be matched on the field..

    Is our team good or is our team good? What a victory!

    I hope we see out whats left of the matches before the break – namely those bloody Parakeets!

  3. Mido
    December 5, 2010

    I really Like Rosell’s behaviour during this saga,someone from the RFEF should come out to explain this

    • y2k156
      December 5, 2010

      I think RFEF is ghost body. I have never seen or heard from anyone who is head of it. That’s why even the match timings are fixed only week or two in advance.

    December 5, 2010

    Good reaction by the club and the president.They made one mistake.They trust RFEF.

  5. Alexinho
    December 5, 2010

    Some thoughts:

    -Is anyone’s opinions changing on Rosell? Maybe it’s an issue of the summer becoming more and more of a memory, but the move for Afellay, the apology for the Cesc situation (does anyone remember that? It was recent but unnoticed), and statements like these make me like him more.

    -Speaking of Afellay, he can’t get here soon enough. I’ve been following what I can of him since the news broke that he’s come, and I think he will definitely be able to give Xavi and Iniesta rest, and also possibly Villa and Pedro. It may be a stretch of the imagination to imagine a world where he benches Pedro and plays ahead of the Busi-Xavi-Iniesta midfield, but I can see it. It is far more probable, knowing Guardiola’s typical starting-XIs and subs, that he will not break into the team except as a late, late sub, at least for this year.

    -But, transfers are always exciting, and bring a lot of questions. If Afellay starts playing regularly, what does that mean for Bojan? Jeffren? Pedro? Mascherano? I could write pages of speculation. For now, I think that Afellay is the depth that we desperately need, but if you field him at all regularly, it seems to threaten every other attacking player that isn’t in the annointed group of always-starts, politically speaking. Remember when Kxevin asked how long it would be for the press to start creating rumors, with or without evidence, on Mascherano if he doesn’t play too much? After not playing in the Clasico, I think sMasch, as new as he is, is ripe for speculation, at least.

    -Why do I find myself thinking so much about Afellay and depth, instead of the match? First of all, I think Xavi’s tendonitis is beginning to evince itself on the field again. He was far less mobile than we’re used to, and Iniesta was running all about him to provide him an outlet throughout the game. He switched into Busquets’ position for some stretches of the game, if I’m not mistaken, which to me was the smoking gun. Not that this is breaking news, but he needs rest. Then there’s Messi, who finished the Clasico with a minor tear, and looked to be struggling as early as the 70th minute in this one, though he did his best not to show it. It used to be Xavi, but now Messi–who just can’t seem to do anything wrong right now, who passes to an opponent just to receive it on the rebound again and again–is far and away the most overused player on the team. This is all not to mention Puyol and Pique, whose position won’t be affected by Afellay, and the latter of whom’s bad form just may be due to fatigue. And the whole first team had a midweek vacation, mind you!

    Now that that’s out of the way…this was a champion’s win. Not at their best, dominating and dazzling only in flashes, they bagged a 0-3 win in one of the toughest away trips en la Liga, even without really warming up before the game (which showed). Messi continues his MOTM streak–again, he just cannot seem to do anything wrong right now. And, they won without truly brilliant goals, walking the ball into the back of the net, or really defending that well. It rather reminded me of the Zaragoza match–score on hot reads/counterattacks (so to speak), then keep the other team from scoring as much as possible. Complacent? I would just say they were off the pace as a team. It could have been a much tougher game without the early Pedro goal, and if Messi wasn’t made of diamond-encrusted diamonds, as Isaiah says.

    If anyone was complacent, perhaps it was Sergio Busquets. I don’t want to pick on him too much, because he did well enough, but this was the sort of game he plays every now and then in which he just looks to blatantly, screamingly lacking a cutting-edge. You know what I mean–not sprinting, not dribbling, passing to the first body wearing blue he sees. To evaluate him defensively takes a bit more analysis, but whenever he was near the ball, he looked sleepy and, most strikingly, very nearsighted and uncreative. His role may be to pass to the superstars, at its most simplistic, but I’ve seen much more from him in terms of creativity and hunger. And he goes down too easily, especially when the match isn’t being quite as dominated by Barca as it normally is. Is he a better option than Mascherano? Probably, but when Mascherano plays, he looks ON, and Busi just did not for me today, and his performance was symbolic of the match overall in my opinion. Adequate, but not impressive.

    But I guess that’s okay. 0-3.

    • Alexinho
      December 5, 2010

      Oh yeah, quickly, maybe Afellay can bring us the width that we’ve been lacking when Dani Alves isn’t at his best and in this era in which Messi plays in the middle instead of on the right. That was a problem today, and everyone who watches knows that it’s been a recurring problem this season.

    • BA
      December 5, 2010

      so long as i can’t become a member because i wasn’t born in Catalunya, i will not like Sandro Rosell.

    • Jnice
      December 5, 2010

      For me, Busquets was solid yesterday. Kept the ball moving, offered support, pressure opponents… did what was asked of him.

  6. OSBAG
    December 5, 2010

    This is comment on goal.com “Consider
    this – Xavi alone keeps the ball for about 25 minutes of the game.
    Therefore, the other team has a chance of scoring in just 65
    minutes. Oh, I forgot. Messi, Iniesta and co. keep it for another 40
    minutes. The ball spends five minutes in the oppositions’ net,
    and five minutes in throw-ins and corners. And of the remaining
    15 minutes, both teams are fighting for the ball. How else can
    Xavi be a great defender??”

  7. K
    December 5, 2010

    Maybe it was the bus train bullock cart journey or whatever but xavi seemed really off (and by off i mean not as magisterial as he always is) off the top of my head he had at least 4 misplaced passes and that is why i’d like a bit more slack for the villa rating. Then again we have to be pragmatic as it is the right thing to do and call villa on his generally crappy play yesterday. I was wishing that villa’d take that penalty ’cause when messi let ‘that guy’ take the penalty ‘that guy’ then had a bit of a goal scoring roll.
    Also, when’s been the last time that the top 3 balon d’or candidates were from the same club, hell from the same youth system?

  8. Urska
    December 5, 2010

    I never really liked Rosell but he wins few positive points for this one.

    • Eklavya
      December 5, 2010

      You must be the urska whos trying to add me on Twitter and Facebook.

  9. MoSSi
    December 5, 2010

    Villa is so going to get a 2 from Kxevin..

    • PM
      December 5, 2010

      Strikers try to take ground shot to the far post on the chances Villa had last night. Villa didn’t do anything wrong. He was just unlucky, keeper put the foot at the right time at right angle. I guess he will do fine in the coming weeks and go past 20+ goals in liga.

  10. vicsoc8
    December 5, 2010

    For me, Sandro takes the blame for this one. Yeah, you’re talking to the RFEF, but look up the rules and be proactive and call the other club yourself to confirm. You just can’t take chances with these things.

    And… he took the blame like a man. His waxed philosophical near the end, but I heard what I wanted to hear: “I hear the fans, I made a mistake, and I’m going to learn from it and not do it again.” This is a good sign from the president (and I’m hoping that it will spill over into the new socio issue).

  11. Clue(less)
    December 5, 2010

    plus one for Rosell…. he is now less of a douch than normal

  12. PM
    December 5, 2010

    I don’t know why everyone is making it a big deal. There were some misunderstanding, but everything went well at the end. If someone has to be angry and ask questions, it’s Barca. Why RFEF could not take a firm decision? Why did they put Barca under pressure at the last moment? I guess all hell would break loose if someone got injured because of not warming up properly before the match. In stead of asking the right questions they are trying to smear Barca. Madrid based sports journalists are nothing more than scums.

  13. Jim
    December 5, 2010

    Kxevin, where are you? 🙂

    I miss my first Barcelona game for years due to being out and the rearranged time and there’s no review for me to find out how we did. I’ve watched the goals but downloading a game takes forever. Makes me appreciate the fact that some of the people here have to watch over the Internet most weeks rather than the HD TV and Sky coverage that I’m fortunate enough to enjoy. That’s dedication.

  14. PM
    December 5, 2010

    I don’t care much about Ballon d’Or stuff but it’d be pretty amazing if xavi-iniesta-messi takes the first 3 spots :D. Who knows how true the rumors are.


  15. Victor
    December 5, 2010

    I know I’m a new cule and all, so I am surprised by this attitude on the part of other clubs’ fans: the idea that Barcelona has an elitist attitude, will buy games, etc., etc. Why is there such an antagonistic attitude? Sure, the “top dog” always gets flak, but is there an underlying reason for, what seems to me as, excessive hostility and suspicion? The club, the players and Pep in particular have always seemed to be straightforward and respectful in the outward dealings. Rossell as well, in this case. What’s with all the aggro towards FCB?

  16. December 5, 2010

    Review’s up, folks. Sorry for the delay. Between training, naps and high-quality wife time….

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