offpitch | 2015-07-09
Benedito: Barça is the sexiest brand in the football world
The candidate has spoken in several outlets about the club's brand and heritage, his sporting plans, Qatar and the electoral campaign
The Club brand
“Barça is the sexiest brand in the football world but no one is going to knock on your door with an €80 million check. It’s clear they have not done their job properly”.
Benedito insists the former board's brand managing has been “deficient and passive” causing the club “to not be stable enough economically” to take on projects of huge magnitude like the Camp Nou renovation.
“Barça’s jersey is the most valued in the world. To think that only Qatar wants to be the sponsor or they are the only ones who can pay €60 million is to ignore the market”.
“We have to undertake a solid and global marketing plan and instead they have followed the pushpin strategy, just a world map with some pushpins: a deodorant for €400,000 in Brazil, a beer for €700,000 in Mexico, some watches for €200,000 in Malaysia and at the end you say you’re all over the world”.
The treble and the sporting model
Benedito doesn’t understand why the former president Bartomeu boasts about the treble, making it one of the banners of his candidacy: “Most of the culés know the treble is not the merit of Laporta, Rosell or Bartomeu. Of Luis Enrique a little, yes. But everyone knows the treble was achieved by Messi and the rest of the players. Any FC Barcelona president with Messi and a squad like ours would have won it”.
“Back in 2010 we witnessed it clearly, we had elections with the best team in history, the sextuple team with Laporta as president, and in the elections razed the main anti-Laporta figure, Rosell”.
“The current sporting model has its ups and downs. The up is the treble; it is the result of years of hard work in La Masia. But the sporting model is not suitable for situations like Barça B relegation. We have problems in the football academy and our style of play is at risk. It’s not about the titles you win, it’s about the project”.
Regarding the sections, Benedito remembered “they are one of Barça’s essences. How could it be that the basketball section is gone or that the ice hockey team is in financial trouble? With us, the sections will have resources, a president and a general director for each one of them. Our candidacy is fully committed to the sections”.
The Espai Barça and others inversions.
Very critical about the Espai Barça project, Benedito thinks the club shouldn’t “undertake adventures that put its survival at risk”. “With €600 million of total income, €490M of which is regular income and €300M of which is a loan, they still believe we are in a suitable position to carry out the Espai Barça. Well, I’m not. The last three stadiums built in Europe have had a 40% deviation and the club is not solid enough to take on this project without great risks.
“[Bartomeu] has forgotten to make some necessary improvements, such as the new Palau Blaugrana and enhance the Camp Nou accesses and services, which haven't been touched in five years”.
“We will continue with the project of the new Miniestadi next to the Sporting City and we’ll build the new Palau, for no more than €120M, but it’ll be the best basketball arena in southern Europe”. Benedito would invest some €50M to improve the Camp Nou facilities, install escalators and upgrade the restoration zones.
“The time of the architectural grandstandings on paper has finished. I will not propose any action to the Camp Nou that puts at risk the club’s economical viability and our model of shared property. We will not propose anything unattainable that jeopardizes our independence as a club”.
Catalunya and social proposals.
Benedito believes that “to defend the club’s catalanism and the right of the Catalan nation isn’t making politics but to stand for a democratic principle”.
He wants to create an animation stand “with all the guarantees” and plans to incentivise the support in away matches, by subsidizing part of the travel costs.
“I’m not going to create our own travel agency but we are going to make special travel prices available for away matches, the like of which hasn't been seen for a long time. It’s good for the club’s image and for the squad to have our members' support”.
The members of his candidacy
Benedito presented the 16 socís who would be his Directors Board in the event that he wins the presidential elections on July 18th. On this team, there are six members of his previous candidacy in 2010. Benedito said he felt “proud to include four female socís” on his board and that its members have “a great human and professional talent”.
Benedito weighed the fact that six of the members were with him in the previous elections: “It’s a proof of commitment to the project. This fact makes us unique: we believe in the project we have worked on over the last few years, with the intention of being useful to the Club and to culés”.
“They are a representation of the Catalan business framework, of the small and medium enterprises. We want to focus [for the presidential campaign] on the program we have crafted over the last few years, which we have been explaining to the socís”.
The Managing Commission
Benedito asked the Managing Commission, led by Ramón Adell, to stop making decisions that are transcendental to Club’s future. He regrets that the Commission is taking actions like signings and transfers or phone calls to the socís, that may be benefiting Bartomeu's candidacy.
“I demand that Ramón Adell respects fair play and does not make any more decisions. Do not put us in a €200M debt before the elections. I guess they wanted to include the €6M from Deulofeu’s sale to improve the numbers in the economic balance in order to help one of the candidates. It’s outrageous for these things to happen”.
“I was astonished to see Bartomeu showing in an interview all the details of Deulofeu’s transfer. He’s a candidate, just like me, and I didn’t have that information”.
The other candidates
When being questioned about a hypothetical pact if another candidate wins the elections, Benedito affirmed that “it is impossible to share a project with Bartomeu. As for Laporta, a man with whom I spent 13 years of my life at this club, we have the same origins but a pact is not possible. He can't guarantee that he’ll change the things that need to be changed. I can’t trust him”.
“We will propose a new phase with all the good aspects of the previous ones. But this Bartomeu, Rosell and Laporta fight is a war without solution, a hatred they can’t overcome. We will hurt the club if we don’t overcome this”.
Regarding the “isms” [the different ideologies in the club: Cruyffism, Laportism, Rosellism] he said: “I’m fine with different ideologies. It’s proof that we feel Barça in different ways. We do not only discuss football. The problem begins when you cross dangerous boundaries. Then, they become wars not ideologies”.
Did you also read the inteview Grup14 did with Agustí Benedito? Read it here: Grup 14 talks with Agustí Benedito.
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