In El clàsico nobody wants to stand with worn out shoes


I have got used to taking regular morning walks round the pond which is found in my neighbourhood. Recently I have choosen to walk in my father’s shoes, a comfortable pair that he fortunately forgot at one of his visits. My father has sailed out on the never-ending blue sea and despite other similarities with the Swedish poet Cornelius Vreeswijks lyrics in his beautiful song “Some are walking with worn out shoes”,  my father was no doubtful character. During a hard-working life he wore out his shoes and was capable of much –  still death tricked behind a corner and took him when it wanted to…

However, the new board of the large club FC Barcelona considered that their ex-president Joan Laportas was a doubtful character when they chose to bring him to court. The reason was of economic character because at an inspection they got the information that the grade of debt disagreed with Laportas and the ex-boards economic report. They also found some doubtful costs that could be drawn to the ex-presidents private affairs. Considering the success that Laporta had during his office and in the economic and sporting situation the club was in when he took over power after Joan Gasparts failure, it is easy to understand why the ex-president refused to accept the decision about an economic inquiry.

FC Barcelona and the rival Real Madrid is, like other clubs in La Liga, owned by the members instead of stock owned clubs or clubs owned by single billionaires, which is common in Premier League and Serie A. Parallels can be drawn to parliamentary elections where every member (socios) has big influence over how the club is operated. Every member gets one vote and general election is held every fourth year when the president (chairman) shall be elected. This democratic kind of ruling and the loss of conversion into an independent subsidiary company has given the bitter rivals opportunity to a race of arms within the player market, without consideration of single billionaires demands of fast dividend or market economic effects. In difference to the British competitor Manchester Uniteds dept for 1.000.000.000 euro (2010) the Catalonians dept is “only” half, about 500.000.000 euro (2010). Even though, in a sport perspective the south European clubs are fully competitive. This is something that the fans of the conversion into an independent subsidiary company of sports should take into consideration.

Despite that Sandro Rosell, the new president for FC Barcelona, had a spoken goal that the club should have an acceptable economy in 2013, Barca planned to put an offer on Manchester Uniteds attacker Wayne Rooney if a sale had been of interest. This was a clear sign that the race of arms and the competition against Real continued despite economic restrictions. This rivalry is about much more than just football and stretches back to the Spanish revolution and the Spanish civil war. Madrid is the central power of Spain and Real is the club which, according to the Catalonian opponents, has gotten benefits from this as well in sports as economically and politically. Because of this it is important for Barcelona to uphold their identity and Barca has become more important to their citizens of Barcelona than the Spanish national team.

With these perspectives it is easier to understand Joan Laportas and earlier presidents economic investments, and their rival’s great ventures on the player market. Overvalued brands give the loan- and credit givers big trust in them and with this we get more of an understanding for FC Barcelona’s device “More than a Football Club”. Every year when it is time for El Clàsico on Camp Nou and Santiago Bernabeu-stadium nobody wants to, like my father, stand with worn out shoes.

Niklas Liiv