offpitch | 2015-04-30
Bartomeu confirms elections for July
“It was a good decision to move up the elections”
FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu presented a positive report of the club’s situation to the 166 Barça Senate members who came to the meeting in the Auditori 1899 at the Camp Nou today.
“This will be my last intervention in front of you before I stand for elections,” Bartomeu said. “[The elections] weren’t set for this year, but my board members and I decided that it was better to try and minimize the tension environment around the club."
Bartomeu praised the club's decision to move the presidential elections earlier than scheduled and confirmed that it will be held in July. “Seeing the results that the team is achieving I think that it was an excellent decision; [the team] is competing for every title.”
The president said that the club is in an excellent situation and enumerated five things as achievements:
- A winning environment: “The first team is fighting for every title, we have won the leagues with the hockey and basketball teams and Barça Femeni won its fourth consecutive league title.” As for the men's team, the president said that he is very satisfied with the current squad. “We have succeeded in structuring a great team around Messi,” he said. This is not an easy feat, he said, because the club has made “more than 20 moves in the transfer market last summer, including signings and sales.”
- Social and integrating club: Bartomeu explained that the recent census revealed that the club has 144,000 socís. “There’s a better control on the penyas and we know who their members are,” he said. He also spoke of the Foundation’s importance in helping a lot of children “in Catalunya and around the world,” thanks to a lot of alliances that have been established with powerful entities.
- An economically sustainable and solid club: Bartomeu pointed out that according to Forbes magazine, Barça is now the second club in the world in terms of economic resources. This fact brings in constant reinforcements for the first team to be competitive. “We have to keep on earning money every year to be able to sign players for the first team and also for the academy, in addition to paying the debt,” the president explained.
- Solid assets: Bartomeu insisted on the importance of the “Espai Barça” project, approved in last year’s referendum. “We have already built two pavilions for the indoor football academy and for basketball; the works on the new Mini Estadi at the Training Center are starting. The idea is to have the Camp Nou completely renovated by 2021, with a new Palau Blaugrana and better accessibility.”
- Independency: Bartomeu noted that Barça is still “the club of its socís” and that unlike other rival clubs that are in the hands of “investment funds or wealthy people," Barça “doesn’t depend on anyone.”
It is worth noting that after talking about the board’s achievements during its term, the president made no note of the current investigation into the Neymar case by the Spanish authorities.
On the upcoming Champions League semifinal with Bayern Munich, Bartomeu said that [Pep] Guardiola will be received “with all the honors” that a club legend deserves.
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