Sandro Rosell, during the interview with Al Jazeera / PHOTO: SAMER AL-HALABI/LOUIS KARAM
Club President Sandro Rosell spoke to the Al Jazeera Sport channel today and admitted that he would like to see the current Spanish League format reduced from 20 to 18 and then 16 teams: “the dates that would free up would then be filled by extra Champions League games," with the aim to double the number of teams involved and "bring in income that we would lose with a smaller domestic league.”
Smaller league more competitive
Rosell insisted that any reduction in the league should not be used to increase the dates set aside for international games, but rather to strengthen Europe’s main club competition: “we could double the number of Spanish teams involved in Europe.” In addition the domestic competition “would become more equal and competitive - the best players would be shared out amongst fewer clubs.”
More praise for Guardiola
The President also took the opportunity to repeat his admiration for coach Pep Guardiola: “he is an example of the values which we hold. He is self-effacing and has a culture of hard work and exceptional effort. He starts preparing for the next game when we are returning from a match on the plane.” Rosell insisted that Guardiola was welcome to renew his contract for two, three or four more years: “players, fans and the board want him to continue. The Club is doing everything possible to help make him comfortable and happy. We just hope he says yes.”
Keep the talk to football
The rivalry between Barça and Real Madrid was another issue raised in the interview and although he admitted “there were maybe just a few too many meetings” at the end of last season, he insisted: “they are always special.” The President also made it clear that “what we want is to be able to talk about football – but it needs to stay on the pitch, we really don’t like it when things go beyond that.”
“The Club of all the world’s children”
The Club’s agreement with Qatar was naturally brought up too and Mr Rosell repeated his satisfaction with the shirt deal signed last summer: “it’s the biggest selling sports shirt of all time. It’s great to walk down the streets in Qatar or its neighbours and see everyone wearing a Barça shirt, especially the kids – more and more of them are becoming Barça fans and want to be players like Messi, Xavi or Iniesta. Our aim is to become the Club of all the world’s children.”
The President also explained he’d rather Barça’s league games were played in the evening or at night and not at midday, as well as touching on the ground renewal project at the Camp Nou, which he insisted needs a study if capacity is to be increased.
“Pep is an example of the values which we hold. He is self-effacing and has a culture of hard work and exceptional effort."
“what we want is to be able to talk about football, we really don’t like it when things go beyond that.”
"It’s great to walk down the streets in Qatar or its neighbours and see everyone wearing a Barça shirt, especially the kids"