Rosell set to take over from Laporta
Sandro Rosell is set to become the new president of Barcelona in
Sunday’s elections at the Catalan club.
The former vice-president is runaway leader in the polls and
gathered more signatures from the socios than the other three
candidates put together.
Rosell, who worked under current president Laporta from 2003 to
2005, was key to bringing players like Ronadinho and Deco to the
But the 46 year-old stepped down in 2005, claiming Laporta was
failing to carry out his original plan.
The two have been at loggerheads ever since and although the
team have been hugely successful on the pitch, winning 12 trophies
in seven years under Laporta, Rosell believes the club has become
too political under his former colleague.
“There have been some good things, like the partnership with
Unicef and the appointment of (Pep) Guardiola (as coach), but Barca
should never be mixed with politics,” he said in last night’s
televised debate between the four candidates.
Laporta has openly declared his intentions to enter politics
once he leaves the club and has set his sights on becoming
president of Catalonia.
The current Barca chief has also been criticised for an
exaggerated nationalistic stance in his time as president, which
has ostracised many of the club’s non-Catalan supporters.
But Rosell says Barcelona are a symbol for region and believes
the club’s Catalan essence should remain intact.
“The Catalan nature forms part of the essence of the club, but
it has to be understood in a totally open manner, without
(political) party support,” he said.
“The Barca we are proposing will be involved with the territory
and its people.”
Rosell, who is likely to bring in his own sporting director to
replace Txiki Begiristain – reported to be former Barca player and
coach Carles Rexach – says his priority will be to strengthen the
“If we win the elections, the first thing I will do will be to
sit down with Pep (Guardiola) to see how we can strengthen the
playing squad,” he said.
Should Rosell triumph, the 46-year-old will have to liaise with
Laporta for two weeks in a handover period, but the president-elect
is unconcerned by that prospect.
“I am sure the transition would be smooth,” he said.
The second favourite to win tomorrow’s elections, Barca’s former
sport and marketing vice-president Marc Ingla, says Rosell would
take the club backwards.
“With Rosell it would be like going back to 2000 or the last
century,” he said earlier this week.
“He wants to elect a sporting vice-president who knows nothing
about football, but who is his friend.
“He will have a technical secretary who isn’t Txiki
(Begiristain), but he won’t say who he is.
“He will interfere and he will take us backwards, he would make
a mess of the club’s (current) model.”
Laporta is supporting colleague Jaume Ferrer, who is the only
candidate still working in the current regime.
Ferrer is not expected to triumph, but says he is worried by the
“They make me scared,” he said.
“They put everything we have achieved in danger. One bad move
could make our projects end up in the bin, the club’s Catalan
essence as well.”
The other candidate, Agusti Benedito, is also against Laporta’s
political stance, but says the current president’s model is a valid
“Laporta has used the club as a political platform and for his
own personal benefit – that’s a big error,” he said.
“But the current model is a good one.”
Meanwhile, Barca legend Joan Cruyff says he is underwhelmed by
all of the candidates.
Whoever sits there (as Barca president) has a difficult task and
we’ll have to see if they know what they have to do,” he told
Television de Catalunya today.
“In the programmes that I have read, I have seen that they have
been trying to be nice to the socios, but I have not a seen a real
analysis of the functioning of the club.”
Under Rosell, Cruyff looks set to lose the title of honorary
president awarded to him earlier this year by Laporta.
“I don’t like the fact that such a big decision was taken behind
the socios’ backs,” he said.
One person who will definitely remain in his position is
“We have the best coach in the world and I am sure we will keep
winning,” he said.
“(New Real Madrid coach Jose) Mourinho doesn’t worry me.”