A few things have emerged after this weekend. As you might have noticed, there is a lot of talk about Pep’s words towards the former Barça directive board. Some members of the board led by Joan Laporta have been forced, by a legal dispute, to present a financial back up for the losses his board inherited from Joan Gaspart’s presidency in 2003. Laporta and seven of his old board members- which, for some reason, does not include Sandro Rosell himself, vice president in 2003- need to present financial back up of about 2.9 million euros each. Back in 2006, a Barça member filed a lawsuit to make Laporta and his board responsible for the previous losses. Laporta and the rest lost the legal dispute and have to present the back up this Friday.
So, Pep Guardiola made a plea on Saturday in order to stop these disputes, saying that the situation is complicated for Laporta, his former directive board members and their families, and that they did not deserve to pay for someone else’s mistakes (referring to Gaspart’s board). Having said that, some media (like El País, in this article) have reported that Rosell did not like Pep backing Laporta up, which would be strange if neither Rosell nor his board are involved in this dispute, as they have profusely stated these past few days. So, why would Rosell be uncomfortable with Pep’s words?
Some might say that both Rosell and Laporta are bitter rivals and, at some point, that is correct. Laporta is being taken to court again for the unreported losses in 2010, this time by Rosell in the name of FC Barcelona. That move was also decided in a members’ representative assembly, in October last year. The Barça president’s ‘lobby’ was clearly involved last year in getting this action approved but, at that time, Rosell didn’t vote. So, representatives were convinced and the lawsuit was approved, and was finally filed in July 2011.
According to El País, it seems Pep wanted Rosell to lower the growing level of controversy among both directive boards (which is rising not only because of financial issues), since that would be the best thing to do for Barça. The board has apparently understood the message as they have reportedly asked the member to drop the lawsuit, according to some sources. On Tuesday, Pep was clear about his intentions, as Sport reports here, saying in the press conference that he never wanted to upset Rosell with his words and that he only wants a good environment in order to keep up the good work. This has undoubtly taken pressure off , despite some members of the board, as El País states, apparently not wanting a coach with a strong opinion.
Exploring this issue a bit further, Graham Hunter in a column for ESPN raises some interesting questions. The main question centers around Sandro Rosell himself. Will he put aside his personal interests against Laporta for the benefit of the club? The only ones that can benefit from a long time dispute between the previous and the current boards are the media and our rivals. Pep Guardiola said it yesterday, “the most important thing is for Barça to continue on the path to victory. The club must stay strong.” He has also said that, based on his long time spent at the club, that time has shown that all directive boards do right things and also make mistakes. But at the end, they work to make the club stronger. At some point, they have all contributed to Barça as we know it today.
It seems that the board needs to take Pep’s words seriously in terms of calming the atmosphere and to try avoiding feeding the Madrid press. Fortunately, our coach seems to feel supported by the board as he has supported them with his opinion about the Qatar Sports Investment deal before the assembly. So, it seems for now that everyone we can look forward to working together for a better and bigger Barça! That is, after all, what our coach wants.