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Jun 8, 2010

All Four Candidates are all Geared up for Sunday's Election

With the first Presidential Candidate debate over, we have a clear picture of how each of them want to run this club. Agustí Benedito, Jaume Ferrer, Marc Ingla and Sandro Rosell all participated in the first presidential debate on Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio. It looks like Sandro Rosell has managed to edge out others in the initial stages. He secured around 13,618 votes for the Candidate selection process, that is more votes than all other put together. But it will foolhardy to predict a Rosell victory. With the Catalan identity of the club being thye focal point of all the candidate, we the fans around the world has much at stake in this election. I never took too much interest in these election rhetoric, but I can sense this one could be different scenarion with far reaching consequence for Non-Catalan fans. There is a high chance that when the results are announced of the June 13 voting, your hopes of becoming a part of this Club could be dashed forever.

Joan Laporta the current president (till the next one takes charge), oversaw a tenure which resulted great footballing success. For all the scandals in which he was involved, whether the Uzbek one or the Spying one, when it comes to footballing matters he made the right choices. His decision not to go for Jose Mourinho, who was kind of a popular choice saw the club retaining its footballing identity. Mourinho would have turned this club into defensive set-up(like the way he trying to do with Madrid), thank God Laporta had the wisdom of sensing that. I have been following the election scenario for sometime, courtesy of the excellent reporting by Barca Election Blog. The initial impression given by most of the candidates is of utter confusion.

Rosell, who looks like front-runner has some serious plans which could send shivers down non-catalans fan's spine. Rosell has made it very clear that he opposes to the Global oulook promoted by the previous regime and will take any steps to retain the club's Catalan identity. His idea is to announce a three month period if he is elected. "During this period anyone can become a member after that only two groups could become a member: family members in the first or second degree of a member, or children who would be given the chance to grow up with the club." His fear is that 30,000 Serbians or Chinese could become a member one fine day and that could see one of them being the President. In this age of Globalisation these steps could take the club light years back. Another of his revolutionary idea is to have a profit making shirt sponsor for the first time in the Club's history. This could be a very tricky issue as the members of the club usually are dead against these. But Rosell could be banking on his Catalan Identity rhetoric to get support for this (like many right wing politicians do). He already have the dreaded "Boix Nois" rooting for him. He also looks like not much impressed by the recent outputs from the youth academy.

Agustí Benedito, meanwhile looks like a far more liberal candidate than Rosell. He also agrees in the idea of limiting the club membership, but comes up with a plan of creating two king of memberships - Associate and Barcelonista. Associate represents local fans whereas Barcelonista would be the foreign fans. He hasn't made it clear what he want to achieve finally. But all these years watching cheap politics, I can easily predict. The Associates would be the one who will have the right to vote whereas the Barcelonista will have most of the rights except the voting. What it does is the elections and administration will remain a much more Catalan affair. Atleast this plan is more economically viable than What Rosell is suggesting. Another of his suggestion is to have different Presidents for running different Sports, that for me is a very good idea. But he looks like not much in favour of the club's ideology of developing talents to feed the first team.

Jaume Ferrer, being a part of the Laporta's latest administration is expected to carry on affairs the same way as it is. His basic promise is to continue the good work done by Laporta and take the club to greater success. Ferrer also looks like inline with Benedito's proposal of two kind of memberships. He hasn't made it clear, but he wants the club membership to be limited yet want the rest of the members to have a chance to link to the club in another way. In contrast with Benedito, Ferrer looks likes backing Barca's youth development model in its current form. There have been various accusation of the current management hiding the facts about of the club's real financial situation and that could hurt Ferrer the most.

Ingla is also inline with Ferrer in many issues. He wants the current model to continue (I find it surprising that some candidates want to break the current model). The most important thing is that he wants Txiki Begiristain to continue. Ingla's basic project looks like to take the club to the World rather than restrict it to Barcelona. He also emphasise the need to focus on priciples and not on making profits(this was clear from the debate). Ingla looks like the only person who wants the club open to all across the world and that is a good news for all of us. He also emphasise on setting up Youth Academies across the world.

There has been much mud-slinging throughout this election. I initially thought I would write a bit of those, but the more I read the more I got confused. I was simply sinking in the numerous accusation and counter-accusation. From a non-Catalan fan's prespective, Ingla represent a safe bet. He would continue the current policies and would make sure that the club remain open for non-Catalans. Ferrer and Benedito is looking to take the middle path. Rosell represent the worst fears for non-Catalan Barca fans. But he is a shrewd candidate. By raising the Catalan identity issue he expects to sell his project well to the hard-core Catalan fans. And it looks like he has succeeded well in the initial exchanges. BUt he looks very short sighted, like the many Real Madrid presidents. As Ingla remarked in the debate ""We want an open club, Rosell wants to close the club to some families." That could be what he will achieve in the long run.

All About FC Barcelona is a Blog dedicated to the Most prestigous Club in the world, FC Barcelona by an ardent fan. Here I discuss about the Latest happening surrounding our Club and present my Views about the same.

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