specials | 2015-03-28
Fourteen to Zero - Part Two
The club started to lose its identity
Sandro Rosell and the current board of directors have caused incalculable damage to Futbol Club Barcelona. This is the claim of many worried fans after a trophyless season and a long period of institutional instability. In this special series, you will find a well crafted timeline of the events that led our club to the current troubled times the club is going through.
Let us continue with more questionable decisions by the reigning Barcelona board.
March 10, 2011 - Meet Beach Soccer Club Barcelona
Sandro Rosell opened a beach soccer club with Barcelona in its name by claiming the club was “very interested in a young and growing sport”. Apparently it was made only to please Ricardo Teixeira, an old friend of his, who after multiple corruption scandals stepped down as President of the Brazilian Football Federation and ran away to Europe.
The Beach Soccer Club Barcelona only existed for one competition organized in Brazil and has disappeared ever since. It is unclear how much this stunt cost the club.
March 15, 2011 - 200,000 euros for the doping allegations are enough
On March 13, Cadena COPE’s Partido de las 12, Antonio Alcalá reported Real Madrid was going to demand tighter doping control from the Spanish Football Federation, citing Valencia's past involvement with Eufemiano Fuentes and Barcelona doctors of "questionable reputation".
COPE claims the information came from Real Madrid. Leading to a scandal which Florentino Pérez and the club itself strongly denied without taking legal action against the radio show, contrary to the club's approach of pursuing legal action against false claims. Now some people had the argument that Barcelona was only winning everything and beating Real Madrid constantly because our players were using forbidden substances. Simple as that.
Sandro Rosell reacted and sued Cadena COPE demanding €6 million in damages. The outlet backtracked, admitted their mistakes two days later and the club accepted a measly payment of €200 thousand. One of the gravest accusations in Barcelona's history, which caused a huge blow to its reputation and international image, and the reigning board considered reasonable to accept a derisive compensation instead of doing everything in their power to greatly discredit the radio that refused to reveal the exact name of their source.
Remember that at the beginning of this article it's fair to say Florentino Pérez and Sandro Rosell had a close relationship.
June 8, 2011 - The Baseball Team is Over
Sandro Rosell decided to close Barcelona's baseball section, which existed for 80 years, because it cost the club €300 thousand per year. Of all the non-professional sporting sections the club had at the time only cost 0,46% of the club revenue.
It showed a lack of appreciation for a historical section and their blind money driven strategy. Our image as “Més Que Un Club” was once again damaged, just like associating with Qatar. Later twelve other sports sections were closed down that had many kids playing with Barcelona colours. Our identity continued to be tarnished.
September 5, 2011 - Johan Cruyff warns us about Qatar and Rosell
In an interview with El Periódico in 2011, the Flying Dutchman warned Barcelona members and fans.
“I see strange things. What am I talking about? The agreement with Qatar, for instance, when you know Sandro Rosell had or has relations and businesses, and we are talking about a country that has so much money. Then you see the board reducing the sporting sections because they do not matter, and claim that the club has a lot of debt, always going on about the economic situation… What do you want? Convert Barcelona into a company? I don’t know. But where are we headed to? What kind of club does Rosell want? There are some things you can’t understand and it makes you suspicious. If you want to sell a company, what do you do? You eliminate everything that doesn't interest the buyer. If the buyer is Qatar, for instance, the sections do not matter to them and the foundations from here also do not matter, because they have their own.
These aren’t pleasant thoughts and I’m not saying it’s true, but you see stuff that make you think there’s more behind it”.
Cruyff could already tell Guardiola and Rosell weren’t gonna work together for long:
“It’s scary to think what’s gonna happen when Pep leaves, because Rosell has been against people like Pep and Rijkaard. The President's philosophy is the Brazilian and Portuguese one. Everything started with Frank Rijkaard, with his behavior. He was a gentleman. If it had been up to Rosell, he would have fired him after six months, and it’s very likely nothing we achieved since then would have happened”.
November 6, 2011 - €10 million for Neymar
On the club's 2012 Assembly, it was revealed the club paid a mysterious sum for a “sportive intangible”. At the time rumored that it was to bring Neymar. Two years later with the fiscal scandal regarding Neymar’s signing already ongoing, the player's father revealed the club paid €10 million in advance to have a preference on his signing.
In 2011, six months after Messi had scored on Wembley to give us our fourth Champions League trophy, Sandro Rosell started moving to bring the player he saw as Messi’s substitute. He didn’t knew it at the time, but this operation would be his undoing.
March 1, 2012 - Now Espai Barça is necessary
Jordi Moix presented the introduction of the plans for Espai Barça, saying the club would spend around €100 to 150 million to renovate the Camp Nou and its surroundings. It's curious, considering a few years ago they shelved the previous board and Laporta's Forster Project, which would’ve costed less.
If that wasn't enough, later on the €150 million became €600 million.
April 27, 2012 - Our greatest manager leaves Barcelona
“I want the fans to know we offered Pep a blank check to renew, to remain at the club. We did all in our power to keep him”.
Sandro Rosell declared, but it another lie.
Rosell kicked off by forcing Johan Cruyff, Guardiola’s close friend and mentor, out of the club, following by selling Chygrynskiy, a player Pep had given his word he would have another season to prove himself after a rough start in Spain. Later he went and manipulated the club's assembly to sue the previous Barcelona board while Guardiola pleaded in a press conference not do it. Guardiola was left alone on his battle against Mourinho and the Madrid media outlets when he should've been helped to defend the club from the slander and smearing. Something expected of the club's president.
Guardiola wasn't respected for his preference on yearly renewals and Rosell tried to force six year contract down his throat. The manager was also criticised for Ibrahimovic’s signing before the members as “the worst signing in the history of the club”, even though Pep wasn’t entirely one responsible. Many questionable declarations followed, Rosell claimed Barcelona was going to beat Real Madrid 5-0 on the 2011 Copa del Rey final one day before the match, causing a commotion on the press and sadly losing the club's chance of winning another treble; also after the wins vs Real Madrid on the 2011 Spanish Supercup that the club won “even though the players had just arrived from the beach”, something that would certainly irritate manager and his players.
Nothing was ever done to keep Josep Guardiola at Barcelona, just ask Sandro Rosell.
May 22, 2012 - Óscar García leaves the club
People who had come to the club when Joan Laporta was President, and especially those who were close to Cruyff weren't viewed positively by Sandro Rosell and his Barcelona board, and were systematically removed.
Óscar García was promised promotion to Barcelona B, but Eusebio renewed his contract and led to the exit of one of the most promising coaches at the club. A consequence of shortsightedness and grudges the board held against Laporta and his legacy.
December 20, 2012 - Abidal’s renewal was ready to be signed
Josep Maria Bartomeu, at the time the Sporting Vice-President, assured the fans: “Abidal’s contract is ready, and when he plays his first match after his recovery, we’ll sign it”.
Abidal was the most humane and model example we had, a symbol of fight, will and heart, the man that had beaten cancer to arrive at Wembley and lift Barcelona's fourth Champions League, was gonna stay at Barcelona, with us.
Or so we thought...
Anything wrong? Send your correction.
The views and opinions expressed on this article are of the author only and do not reflect those of Grup 14 or any of its members. The content here belongs to Grup 14 and its many collaborators.