offpitch | 2015-06-30
Joan Laporta officially presents his candidacy to the FC Barcelona elections
Joan Laporta has started his campaign with a press conference where he explained the main purposes of his program and why he’s running again to be FC Barcelona president:
“On June 18th I presented my candidacy. I have the energy to be the president of the best team in the world once again”.
“For me Barça is more than a club. It’s based on Cruyff, La Masia, Catalunya and Unicef. These are the pillars of the club and of our proposal”.
“The socís are the owners of the club. We hope we will win their confidence”.
“Cruyff changed the philosophy of the club, created a winning mentality and a playing philosophy that is admired by the whole world. That football philosophy led us to win all the titles we could have won. We did it with Txiki Beguiristain, Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola and it is continuing with Luis Enrique who promoted Barça B from Segunda B to Segunda A. We have to maintain this philosophy as a basis for the future. It’s good for the future and for life. We have abandoned the victim mentality of the past. This philosophy will be one of the bases of our club”.
“La Masia is a question of identity, of making the model viable. You have to teach some values. Talent isn’t enough. You have to teach the culture of effort and teamwork. We are forming people that can end up being football players. Seeing La Masia players make it in the first team is what makes us consider this a basis for the project”.
“I return because I think that we have to form the basis of another decade of success for Barça. La Masia has not worked as it was expected and we want to recover it”.
“I understand Barça as being Catalan and opened to the world. My project is completely Catalan with respect for everyone else. We are completely committed to the process our country is going through right now”.
“Reaching agreements with organizations that help people who suffer makes us stronger. We have to return to the world what the world gives Barça. That’s what makes us great. Barça is admired for its football but what makes me proud is being admired for giving back to the world what they give us”.
“There is a club called Fútbol Club Barcelona which has a special sensibility with the people who suffer, especially the kids. We will fight against discrimination and for the improvement of these situations. We want UNICEF to return to the front of our shirt”.
“We want the socís to be involved in the decisions of the club. They will be able to choose the shirt design for the following season, we’ll present two options”.
“There has been a lot of discussion about the club’s finances. We will issue a quarterly report on the situation of the club”.
“We will respect what the socís decided in the referendum regarding Espai Barça. If we win I will ask for a meeting with Ada Colau [Barcelona’s new mayor] to agree on the project with the administration. We had a more defined project years ago”.
“If the socís vote for me, Eric Abidal will be Barcelona’s new technical secretary. Abidal has a great energy and he has shared that with all of the members of this project.”
“If Catalunya becomes independent Barça won’t wander around through the world. Our project is Catalan and Barça is fully committed to the process and Catalunya’s independence.”
“The base of this treble was built in the recent past and we feel very proud of it. If they’re presenting themselves with the 3 titles I can do it with 6 won in a year.”
“We have to work so La Masia creates first-grade players. We want a Barça in which winning by a way of playing and by a way of comporting ourselves are installed.”
“We manage the success that was accomplished thanks to the players. A board has less contribution than the players, technical staff or sporting secretary. The treble is a win for Barça and we are a part of it because we formed the basis of this team years ago.”
“In January when elections were called I wasn’t sure I would run, but in these months I met with a lot of socís who had shown me gratitude and I felt as if by not running I would let them down. My family is excited about this too. I feel more than ready to preside over Barça. I have renewed energy and determination to be the president of the best club in the world.”
“We have UNICEF, they have Qatar. The values of liberty and democracy that Catalunya transmits are ours. They’re not better or worse than theirs, but it’s not good to associate Barça’s image with another country. We are not a part of Qatar political regime and we shouldn’t trust what surrounds it. They base their presence around the world on buying everything and that’s not our style”.
“We shouldn’t have just one option. Barça should be opened to lots of options. That’s what Bartomeu, Rosell, and the rest should explain. I have some offers and they’re good. If they only have one either they’re working badly or there’s something else they should explain”.
“We will work so that UNICEF can return to the front of the shirt, but we will also try to get a good contract for it. If United’s shirt is worth €70 million then ours should be more.”
“Luis Enrique defends Barça’s style and the philosophy of the club. Football evolved and he has evolved the system. Now we have other options like counterattacking and this style is a reference in the world of football. It’s an honor for us and we think that it’s right that he continues. The true architects of the success are the players but behind them there is a coach and a technical secretary that have contributed.”
“Right now we don’t have any big signings. But we are working on these things. There are lots of interesting players on the market. We want to return to working with La Masia and we have to dedicate some years to build the future based on that. Alexanco will have a lot to do with that. But we also have to invest in the market. We will bring in proved players and players that can help us for the next decade.”
“It wasn’t easy to get Cruyff to accept the title of honorary president and it was a big mistake that the title was revoked. You can’t defend the model and force the person who inspired it to leave. I will talk to Cruyff because he is a reference point and I know that it’s not easy for him to accept being a protagonist. But when he did that, he did it for Barça. Cruyff reunited all the things required to have an important place in the club because he is one of the most important people in Barça’s recent history. I would love to have his support, like that of many other barcelonistas.”
“We have to end the demagogy. Bartomeu and Rosell have dedicated themselves to defamations and to repeating lies that they wanted to turn into truths a lot of times. The socís will have to decide who they trust: those who, with their lies, have led the club to being accused for corruption or by the person who has won every case against them”.
“I don’t want them to go to jail, I want them to stop lying. They came here and could sell first grade players and buy other great ones. They misused the power of the shirt by betting on future income. It’s wrong that they repeat the same lies when a judge has decided that our numbers at the end of our previous mandate were positive. They’re cheating the socís. We left them the best Barça in history in terms of sport, economy and social activity. A club with social responsibility. I ask them to stop the demagogy”.
”They are Qatar and we represent UNICEF. Bartomeu and the rest are accused of various crimes and what’s worse is that because of their lies, Barça is accused of corruption and fiscal fraud too. I’m sure the socís will put this in balance and will give us their trust.”
“Barça was born in this country and throughout its history it has always been committed to this country. As president I can express my ideas with respect to the ideas of every Barça socí. I have to make the club live with all these situations but that is the greatness of Barça. The club is always connected to freedom and progress. You know my flaws and you know my principles. I ask for respect and, as a democrat, I respect all ideologies. We are democrats and Barça is a global club, open to the world.”
“I speak to Guardiola regularly, he is a friend. I don’t know if he will vote or not but I will be eternally grateful to him for publicly backing us when the board attacked us. Pep is a culé above everything else and he will do what he thinks is necessary. Whatever he does is good. If he backs me it’s fantastic.”
“I meet with Puyol regularly, we have a good relationship. We lived a glorious stage of our lives together. I am here because I want to repeat that and I’m sure that I will have the backing of people like Puyol and Guardiola. Carles told me that he wants to work in football but that he wants to take a year off now. When the rumors about him being a part of my project started appearing we met to clear them up. He maintained his position and everything is clear. I didn’t offer anything to him, he didn’t ask for anything. He wants to prepare himself to work in football in the place he considers appropriate.”
“Bartomeu’s club model and mine are different. The lines are drawn. On one side, there’s Bartomeu, Rosell, Qatar and their decisions that have led us to being banned from registering players, La Masia being dismantled, Barça B relegated, the lies that led the club to being accused of corruption. They have to assume the responsibility for that. On the other side, there’s our model based on Cruyff, Unicef, La Masia and Catalunya. I don’t see similarities between the two models. They have tried to move away from Barça’s style and pushed out the person who thought it, Cruyff. We built the bases so that future executives, like the ones that are there now, could take advantage of it. And they dismantled La Masia.”
“I don’t practice dirty games. I am direct, I say what I think and I will continue to do this. I will try to argue against my rival’s arguments.”
“The club’s judicial situation is a sign that things have been done wrong, with the desire for revenge and with resentment. Things were done without proper knowledge. There were errors and successes. Due to lack of knowledge, arrogance decisions were made about underage players that got us banned from registering players until January. Because of their desire for revenge they have sued other socís. Decisions to bring players by not doing things right were made. I’m thrilled to have Neymar but the judicial situation is not good”.
“The treble has been a relief for them more than a reason for satisfaction. Faced with the current situation you cannot say that you would do everything the same way again. What this accomplishes is to get mad the people who make the rules. It’s not a good strategy.”
“From the first moments we shared with Rosell and Bartomeu [in 2003] they were not satisfied. There was a problem of maturity on their part. We were saving the club’s economy step by step and that wasn’t satisfactory for them. They decided to leave, predicted doom and, thanks to the work of a lot of people, we managed the success and built the basis of Barça’s immediate future, which is now. We feel strong and legitimized to manage this success and face the future.”
“Rosell is behind Bartomeu. They’re inseparable. From the moment Rosell disappears, Bartomeu becomes president without anyone voting for him and he doesn’t call for elections. They’ve always been together, I’m sure they’re working together now too.”
“If the socís give us their confidence we will search for the club’s happiness. We are not like these gentlemen have proven to be. They’re accused of fiscal crimes in everything they worked together. Bartomeu was Rosell’s vice president.”
“The incumbent is always the favorite. But I feel like we have the support of a lot of socís who want me to be president again. Our proposal reaches them. Lots of members come to our headquarters to meet us; fans give us support through social media. We have a big chance to win, but we have to do things very well. We’ll fight for that.”
“If Bartomeu thinks that there’s a ‘black hand’ working against the club he should say who that is. I’ve always talked about the sector of the Spanish media that tries to destabilize Barça. But when there are courtrooms involved it’s different. I’ve never been a part of the victim mentality and I won’t change that. If I think that there are situations that destabilize the club I’ll speak about them.”
“It’s important that the dressing room of every section of the club is protected. We have to insure that there is no instability. The players have to be focused on their jobs.”
“I have a good relationship with Jorge Mendes. I have a good relationship with a lot of agents and that’s a good thing. I have that experience. They’re people who respect Barça and if they have players that are interesting to Barça we will deal with them.”
“Peter Lim is a friend. He asked for my advice when he wanted to buy Valencia and I’m happy to have a good relationship with a businessman who I like a lot as a person and who I think did a good deal.”
“During the campaign we will present our sporting project, the project for the other sections of the club and the team that will be a part of these projects.”
“In my first mandate we managed the club well, especially from an economic point of view. I had people who managed the club very well. It’s impossible to run the club well from a sporting side if the economic side is bad. The current executives could make different investments because they had the basis of our economic management. They can say that Barça was ruined when they took over but our lawyers proved that at the end of our mandate we had positive numbers. We were clean, they’re not yet, they have to prove that. They’re on trial for various crimes. The members must analyze this situation. Managing the club right is a thing of dignity. That has to be clear.”
“I have a telepathic relationship with Messi. He always knows what I think. I feel the backing of the players. We lived through such beautiful times that we don’t have to tell things to each other. Leo is a genius and I’m sure that he knew I was running even before I was convinced.”
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