El Centrocampista

WAR OF THE WORDS – Joan Laporta fights back after Rosell twists the knife too far


For elCentrocampista.com readers and FC Barcelona followers alike, the heated battles between Joan Laporta and Sandro Rosell are more than familiar.

After departing his post as president however, Joan Laporta has remained relatively quiet (by his standards) about his old sparring partner.

Perhaps this relates to his growing political ambitions and a desire to avoid alienating large sectors of potential voters. In any case, Rosell has not followed suit, and has been pretty vocal about placing the blame on Laporta and his regime for Barca’s supposedly dire financial situation.

Last week however, prior to a gathering of members at the club’s general assembly (designed to vote on the Qatar foundation shirt deal) Laporta decided the time was right to strike back.

The following is my own translation of Laporta’s open letter to FC Barcelona socis and supporters, taken from his website, joanlaporta.cat:


“Given the degree of the indecent gestures that the current board of directors, with their president at the helm, have directed at my board and especially against my own person, I think that the time has arrived to express myself openly and directly to the public and, especially, the socis and supporters of FC Barcelona. My initial hopes were to avoid intervening in the dynamic of the club. However, when drawn witness to the increase of attacks and bad faith against my person, which are spreading, without any verification and being entirely permissive falsehoods which go against my honour and former board, I feel the right to defend myself.

Above all, I regret profoundly that they have intended to destroy our image with large doses of hatred, envy and resentment. They are attacking the image and honesty of both my companions on the board and my own, causing us problems and risks every day. I’m speaking of risks and problems that are personal, in the family and professional. We have dedicated time and effort to work towards building the best Barça in history and we don’t deserve this cruelty. We feel that our children have to suffer the consequences of this torrent of lies and cruelty against us.

The construction of this best Barça in history is not by chance, but by the correct application of a management model that has been championed on work, responsibility and honesty, by a team of people who have the privilege to preside over the club.

First, I want to expose the great lie surrounding the economic situation of Barça; the cry that “the bank is empty” [Here, Laporta is referring to Rosell’s decree upon arriving at FC Barcelona as president, that they were in a dire financial situation and had no money to spend]. Not true. We left a legacy of a club that is financially sustainable. They say they don’t have money,that there isn’t even a Euro in the bank. Lies. We left a club that began the 2009-10 season with more than 430 million Euros. We left them a Barça that enters each season with 140 million Euros in audiovisual rights. We left them a Barça that begins each season with 40 million Euros from Nike. We left them a club with no more than 150 million Euros credit from La Caixa and Santander banks. They sold Toure for 30 million Euros (incidentally, I had closed that transaction for 32 million, they know what they did); Ibrahimovic for 25 million Euros and Txigrinski for 15 million Euros. And, they sold the shirt to Qatar for 30 million Euros. There is no money in the bank, therefore? Lies! I assure you that my mandate generated profits. And this is despite several sly manoeuvres and re-allocations of previous losses by previous boards to the accounts, and the subsequent losses applied to the current directive. In a flagrant and outrageous manner, with absolute bad faith, we are charged with losses last year that were deliberately inflated.

We left a legacy of the best team in football history, with a squad of marvellous footballers and wonderful progression. And a trainer, in Pep Guardiola, with a commitment to renew for at least another year. And all of his technical team renewing also.This means, Mr. President and current directors, sports stability and economic viability for several years guaranteed. This is the legacy we left them, if they told it like it is.

To them we left a Barça with a Masia in a splendorous moment, the best in its history. A youth team that has nurtured all the players exceptionally and consistently produced high quality players that have played an active part in the first team. We left them great work being done in education and preparation of players, and I’m sure many dreams will come true in the near future.

To them we left a Barça with professional sports teams that are economically sustainable and competitive in a sporting sense, and non-professionals competing at the highest levels and promoting the good image of the club at a perfectly acceptable cost.

To them, we left a Barça committed to combating violence in the stadiums. A club that received international recognition for being at the forefront of sporting clubs that eradicated violent sections in its stadium. We left them a Barça without violence in the stands. And this isn’t easy, I can assure them.

We left them a Barça in solidarity with the disadvantaged. A Barça committed to just causes, with human rights, with civility, with culture, against racism. We left them a Barça where sportsmanship, respect, effort, commitment, camaraderie and accountability were the essential values of the club. A Barça with UNICEF on the shirt. A Barça where the Barça Foundation, at a reasonable cost, used football as an instrument to develop in Catalunya and in the rest of the world solidarity and consensus on providing comprehensive support to education, nutrition, health and social assistance to thousands and thousands of vulnerable children.

We left them a club without complexities, fully committed to its Catalan origins, with its identity, language and Catalan culture. We left them a Barça full of respect for the sensibilities of Barcelonisme; a Barça that is Catalan and global. A Barça that promoted its image around the world with respect and pride. With humility, sensitivity, generosity and dignity.

We left them a club where the president and board were never hidden, in order to defend and protect the image and interests of the club, its members, fans and of course, the technical team and the players. They showed their face always, in every moment, in an immediate manner, unrelenting and with incontestable arguments in very complex situations. And they still done it whilst at risk and at the cost of their own image. First, Barça. Can they remember?

The current board has received a club that was financially solvent, viable and sustainable. Therefore, President, and directors, enough of the lies. Don’t talk about a luck of resources, do not make concessions to the people who want to bring violence to the stadium (or is this how you pay them for their service in the electoral campaign?) and explain the contract with the Qatar Foundation (are you all so sure Barca should allow the name of a country to take over its shield?). And stop the indecent manner in which you have spread the belief that my board and I done badly to the club. The external signs are obvious for those who want to look, that we did well. The undeniable strength of facts is obvious, that we created a model club that has led Barça to be recognized and admired as the best club in the world. Everyone wanted to have a club like the one you were left!

I’m very proud of the sporting, social, economic and stable image we have projected and nothing would make me happier than for it to continue this way. Though they cannot erase the memory they have left in recent years, they cannot, at the hands of a campaign plagued by lies and resentment, erase the best years in the history of our club, that is a Barça for all.

I reiterate that we do not deserve this often indecent treatment, and we are defending as required to combat the lies, falsehoods and defamation. We have the right to do so and more so when the attacks impact our personal, family and professional life. Our socis are entitled to know the truth.

Visca el Barça i visca Catalunya!”


Wow! Whilst I do not wish to enter into the facts or non-facts of the matter, Laporta is an undeniably eloquent man who has presented a letter that uses figures and challenges to assert its truthfulness. Rosell must surely respond in full, and the result will be even more intriguing. I’ll leave it to our readers to decide who is telling the truth (if either of the two truly are), but this is certainly a polemic letter that could prove to be important in the history of FC Barcelona when we look back in years to come.


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