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On January 23, 2014, Sandro Rosell submitted his irrevocable resignation after three and a half years as president of FC Barcelona. Vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu assumed the presidency after Rosell stepped down from his post
Josep Maria Bartomeu i Floreta (Barcelona, 6 February 1963) has been an FC Barcelona member since 1974, he's member number 16,836. He’s been part of the Board of Directors since 2010, when the candidacy of Sandro Rosell won in the elections of June 13th, 2010. Since then he’s been first vice-president, responsible for the Athletic Area of the Club.
Bartomeu was also part of FC Barcelona’s Board of Directors from 2003 to 2005 as the director responsible for the basketball team.
Married and father of two, he’s a partner and CEO of the ADELTE Group (port and airport engineering, worldwide leader of boarding and design of large transport vehicles) and EFS, Equipo Facility Services (group of system maintenance and electromechanical equipment businesses).
Sandro Rosell (6th March 1964) assumed the role of president of the club on July 1, 2010, after enjoying an overwhelming victory in the elections on June 13, where he secured 61.35 per cent of a record turn-out of 57,088 voters
Sandro Rosell is the son of Jaume Rosell, who was general manager of Barça during the presidency of Agustí Montal. Having been a club member since October 4, 1970, Rosell has always been linked with Barça and with football and was a ballboy in Camp Nou, like Pep Guardiola, when young. The new president played regularly for Penya Barcelonista de Collblanc and appeared for l'Hospitalet in the Spanish third tier, la Segunda B.
Rosell worked at Barça after being a member of Laporta's board of directors that won the election in 2003 under the slogan 'Primer el Barça' (Barça First) and was instrumental in bringing Ronaldinho to the club. He was also key in the social and sporting turnaround that the club enjoyed in his role as sporting vice president. On June 2, 2005 Rosell stepped down from his role after a difference of opinion with the board.
In the 2010/11 season, now as president, Rosell put his project in motion. His administration had four main objectives: maintain the Club’s athletic excellence; invest in youth football; implement austerity measures due to the Club’s delicate economic situation, and encourage social participation.
Under his administration, FC Barcelona’s performance on the pitch and the court was spectacular. The Club won a total of 60 titles, 53 of which were won by professional teams (10 football titles, 10 basketball titles, 13 handball titles, 7 roller hockey titles and 13 futsal titles) and 7 titles won by the woman’s football team. Of these titles we must highlight the Club’s fourth Champions League title (2010/11) and the second Club World Cup title (2011/12). When it comes to the Club’s other professional teams, Barça won the handball European Cup (2010/11) and the UEFA Futsal Cup (2011/12).
In the 2011/12 season FC Barcelona conquered 17 titles in all sports, an all-time Club record. In addition, the football first team overcame the illnesses that afflicted Abidal and Tito Vilanova.
The youth system also benefited from Rosell’s administration. On October 20 2011, the new Masia, Centro de Formació Oriol Tort, opened its doors on the grounds of the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. The Club invested a total of 24.5 million euros per season (starting in 2010) in the youth system, and in the 2013/14 season of the 25 first team footballers, 17 hail from the youth system.
The Club’s economic situation improved dramatically under Rosell’s administration. Austerity measures were implemented in addition to economic policies that guarantee the sustainability of the Club and prioritise athletic excellence.The Club’s debt was reduced from 430 million euros (June 30 2010) to 331 million in 2013. In addition, the 2011/12 season saw the Club end the fiscal year with a record profit of 49 million euros, and in the 2012/13 season the Club finished the fiscal year with a profit of 32 million euros.
During Rosell’s term, the idea of Club members being the owners of the Club was reinforced thanks to the Statutes reforms which give members more power, encourage participation, and establish mechanisms that guarantee economic control of the Club. In addition, the season ticket waiting list has been streamlined, for the first time in nine years 361 new season tickets were issued to members, 14 of whom have disabilities.
In addition, the Club conducted a census of both Club members and supporters clubs. The Club also reorganised the supporters clubs movement thanks to the XXI Century Project, which is designed to brgin the Club closer to the supporters clubs.
Since 2010, over 35 million euros have been put toward improving the Club’s facilities and installations. In addition, the land sold to the Ciutat Esportiva was recovered at a cost of 21.6 million euros and the sale of the Miniestadi was blocked. In terms of future projects, Rosell’s administration have submitted a proposal to remodel the Camp Nou which will be put to referendum in April 2014.
FC Barcelona have become the leading athletic club worldwide on the internet (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Tencent Weibo, Instagram, Line). The biggest growth has been on Facebook: three years ago the Club only had 2.4 million followers; now there are more than 52 million.
During Rosell’s tenure as president, FC Barcelona showed itself to be an independent, socially inclusive and transversal Club, which allowed Barça to both reach out to fans internationally and strengthen its Catalan identity. On September 19th, 2012, an agreement with the Ramon Llull Institute was signed to promote Catalan culture internationally. A few months later, on December 5th, the Club issued an official statement in defense of the Catalan language and language immersion model, which was threatened by educational reform driven by the Spanish government. In addition, in the 2013/14 season, Barça’s away uniform was modeled on the Catalan flag. FC Barcelona’s policy has always been clear, and perhaps it’s best summarised in the words of Sandro Rosell: "When Catalonia, as a people, as a majority, decide what is best for its future, the Club will be on your side, on the side of the majority."
Joan Laporta i Estruch (Barcelona, 1962) became president after a clear victory in the elections held on 15th June 2003. He received 27,138 votes (52.7%), well ahead of Lluís Bassat, who received 16,412 votes, and the other four candidates
A new generation of young, dynamic directors came into the Club with Laporta and generated a real shake-up of the Club. They popularized the expression “virtuous circle”, which aimed to strengthen the Club economically and socially and prepare the ground for a winning team that would nurture the social dimension of the Club. With this concept as their starting point, the Board initiated a campaign to recruit new members called “The Great Challenge”, at the same time proposing to eradicate violent groups from the Camp Nou. Alongside this a number of other innovative measures were set up, such as holding Board meetings in different parts of Catalonia while reinforcing communication with the fans through the revitalization of the Barca magazine and a determined drive to promote the Club’s TV station, which took the name of Barca TV. In addition, the Foundation embarked on a new phase, characterized by a change of orientation and became the social identity par excellence of FC Barcelona, the heart and soul of the Club, with more ambitious objectives and new action programmes. During Laporta’s mandate, the values which had traditionally characterized Barca were strengthened: Catalan identity, public-spiritedness, solidarity and universality.
In footballing terms, the first season, with Frank Rijkaard as manager, saw the incorporation of the Brazilian international Ronaldinho, who raised enormous expectations. The team improved match by match and finished as runners up in the league. The following season, 2004-2005, featured the signings of Eto’o and Deco, key elements in winning the league title for the first time in six years. The expectations raised by that team were confirmed the following season when, as well as renewing their league title, they also won the Champions League in Paris against Arsenal, the second European Cup in the Club’s history.
Despite such a successful record, which made the president extremely popular, the law courts ruled that the first ten days of his mandate, from 20th to 30th June 2003, were equivalent to a whole season, which forced the Board to call elections in September 2006, at a moment of maximum popularity having achieved two league titles and the Champions League. Laporta stood for re-election and received the signatures of 8,994 members backing his candidacy. He was the only candidate to reach the minimum number and was therefore automatically re-elected.
The 2006-2007 season started with the signing of the agreement with UNICEF, in which the Club committed itself to collaborate economically and in addition wear the UNICEF logo on the shirts of the football team. This was an unprecedented move designed to strengthen the strategy of converting Barca into ‘more than a club’ throughout the world. On a sporting level, the season witnessed a winding down of previous success; despite winning the Spanish Super Cup, the elimination from the Kings Cup at the hands of Getafe and the loss of the league in the final matches created a mood of despondency, which the Board tried to mitigate with the signing of Henry, followed shortly after by Toure Yaya and Abidal.
In the 2007-08 season, the Club celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Camp Nou and set up an international competition for the remodelling of the stadium. This was won by the British architect Norman Foster. At the same time the Club was one of the promoters of the European Clubs Association (ECA), presided by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and of which Joan Laporta became vice-president. Meanwhile, the season was more disappointing than the previous one and it was soon clear that the team wasn’t working as it should. Rijkaard’s time had come to an end. Reluctantly, Laporta had to sack him. Ronaldinho, the player who had symbolized the return of hope in 2003, also left.
In June 2008, Josep Guardiola was appointed first team manager. The year before he had taken over the reserve side, Barcelona B, when they were on the verge of promotion to Second Division B. However, the season was ending in a mood of disappointment and a group of members put forward a vote of censure against the Board of Directors. They obtained enough support to force the vote on 6th July 2008. 39,389 members voted and 60.6% voted in favour of the vote of censure, a figure below that of 66.6% required by the statutes to force the resignation of the president. After this result, eight directors left the Board but president Laporta replaced them and continued in office and was ratified by the representative assembly in August.
After this complex interlude, the most brilliant season in the history of the club began. The football first team achieved success in every competition in which they took part, with some memorable matches such as the 2-6 win in the Santiago Bernabeu. The team won the Kings Cup, then the league and finally the Champions League against Manchester United in Rome, the third European Cup in the Club’s history. At the beginning of the next season, this list of titles was extended to include the Spanish Super Cup, the European Super Cup and the World Club Cup, making this Barca the team of the Six Cups. The World Club Cup won in Abu Dhabi against Estudiantes de la Plata (2-1) was the only competition never won before by the Club. President Laporta was then able to round off his mandate with another league title in the 2009-10 season.
In short, in Joan Laporta’s seven years as president, the football team won the World Club Cup, two European Cups, the European Super Cup, four league titles, the Kings Cup, three Spanish Super Cups and three Copes Catalunya. In the economic and social areas, the figures speak for themselves. The annual budget increased from 170 to 445,5 million euros and the membership rose from 106,135 to 173,701.
A judicial sentence reached the verdict that the mandate of the Board of Directors led by Joan Laporta had expired on June 30, 2006. Therefore, the Barça board resigned and constituted a Managing Commission
In accordance with club regulations, the Managing Commission was chaired by the president of the Statutory Economic Commission.
The members of this Managing Commission were the president Xavier Sala i Martín; vice-president Carles Murillo i Fort; secretary Agustí Bassols i Pascual; vice-secretary Josep Ensesa i Viñas; treasurer Joan Torras i Gómez; and board members Albert Esteve i Cruella, Joan Molins i Amat, Pere Riba i Masjuan, and Sebastià Roca i Roquer.
The Managing Commission began its duties on July 26, and focused on calling elections, which were announced for September 3. The only presidential candidate to present the required number of signatures was Joan Laporta, so he was automatically proclaimed president on August 22, on occasion of the Joan Gamper Trophy match.
The Managing Commission presided by Xavier Sala i Martín was in power for 28 days, a period during which the first team went on a tour of Mexico and the United States, and also won the Spanish Super Cup by winning the two-legged encounter with Espanyol.
After the collective resignation of the Board of Directors presided by Enric Reyna on 6th May, an interim administrative committee, headed by the president of the Statutory-Economic commission, took over the management of the Club as indicated by the Club Statutes. The committee was made up of fifteen members and governed the Club until the elections on 15th June
The members of the committee were: president Joan Trayter; vice president Enric Lacalle; treasurer Jordi Pintó; vice treasurer Antoni Cardoner; committee members Pere Perpiña, Lluís Vilajoana, Lluís Mundet, Josep Ignasi Parellada, Amador Bernabéu, Agustí Montoliu, Elisabeth Cardoner, Maria Teresa Andreu and Joan Molas; vice secretary Francesc Oliveras and secretary Josep Maria Coronas.
During this short but intense period, the committee called presidential elections which have gone down in Club history for the highest level of participation (51'618 votes, 54'7percent of the electoral census) and which were won by the group led by Joan Laporta.
During this month and a half, the basketball section won the European League while the handball section added another Spanish league.
Enric Reyna Martínez became president of FC Barcelona on February 12, 2003, after Joan Gaspart had publicly announced that he was resigning from the position
In compliance with Club Regulations, Enric Reyna became caretaker president of the club until an extraordinary general assembly was held on May 5, 2003. Then, following the simultaneous resignation of the entire Enric Reyna board, the baton was passed on to a Managing Commission, presided by Joan Trayter, who took control over the club until elections were held on June 15.
A property promoter by trade and a club member since September 15, 1965, Reyna had been a board member since the year 2000, during the Joan Gaspart presidency, and vice president from December 2002, before becoming the 37th president in the history of the club. During the almost three months he spent at the helm of FC Barcelona, the club won three major honours: the basketball and roller hockey teams won their respective Spanish Cups, and the handball team collected the EHF Cup.
Joan Gaspart i Solves became president of FC Barcelona on July 23, 2000, following an election with an extraordinarily high turnout (45,888 votes were cast, almost half the members with a right to vote)
Joan Gaspart won 25,181 votes (54.87% of the total), 5,390 more than the candidacy led by Lluís Bassat. Joan Gaspart thus became the 36th president of Futbol Club Barcelona.
Before becoming club president, Joan Gaspart had been vice president for 22 years under Josep Lluís Núñez.
In his first year in charge, Joan Gaspart set about reforming the club regulations, which would have a major affect on the membership list. Before making these modifications, he consulted the members to find out their opinions about the most important issues affecting these reforms. He also promoted the creation of the Club’s ethical code and got plans under way for the construction of the Joan Gamper sports complex in Sant Joan Despí, for which the first stone was laid on December 11, 2000. It was also his presidency that set up the ‘Seient Lliure’ (Free Seat) and ‘Gent del Barça’ (Barça People) projects that would help extend and improve the services on offer to members.
But despite these achievements, sporting success was scarce, and in February 2003, Gaspart resigned as president without the football first team having won any official titles during his time in office. He was replaced by his vice president, Enric Reyna.
On May 6, 1978, Josep Lluís Núñez (Barakaldo, 1931) won the presidential elections by a narrow margin
Candidates Ferran Ariño and Nicolau Casaus with 9,537 and 6,202 votes respectively came short of the 10,352 votes that made Josep Lluís Núñez the 35th president in the history of Fútbol Club Barcelona. He came into office on July 1, 1978. Unlike most of the presidents before him, Nuñez had never been on the board of directors, but this well-known entrepreneur from the property sector had won through on the back of a campaign using the slogan ‘For a triumphant Barça’, and he would go on to become the longest-serving president in the entire history of the club.
Josep Lluís Núñez’s first major task was to sort out the club’s financial problems, but he also had a bigger goal than that, none other than to make FC Barcelona the biggest football institution in the world. During his 22 years in power, Barça would expand spectacularly. The Camp Nou was remodelled and the Miniestadi built next to it (1982) along with the Museum (1984) and a residency for youth players at La Masía.
With Núñez in command, the football team won a host of titles both at home and abroad, while the three other professional sports teams (basketball, handball and roller hockey) were consolidated in a big way and went on to set new standards around Europe.
One year after Nuñez took up the reigns, Barça won the Cup Winners Cup in Basle, the first major title of his presidency. That final will always be remembered for the thousands of fans that journeyed to Switzerland to support the team. In 1982, with Udo Lattek as coach, Barça won another Cup Winners Cup, beating Standard Liege in the final at the Camp Nou, which had just been expanded, as it was to be one of the main stadiums used at the forthcoming World Cup. Fútbol Club Barcelona topped 100,000 members for the first time and so much money was coming into the club that Nuñez was able to sign a man who was considered the best player in the world at the time, Diego Armando Maradona.
The club kept on growing, and in 1984-85 Núñez was able to celebrate his second league title as president, and won another period of office after winning the elections unopposed. Harder times were around the corner though, with defeat in the 1986 European Cup Final in Seville, a major disappointment that was the catalyst for the first crisis of the Nuñez years, what was known as the ‘Hesperia Mutiny’ (1988) and that ended with almost the entire squad being dismissed.
This led to a whole new period in Josep Lluís Núñez’s presidency. The board signed Johan Cruyff, and the Dutch coach built up what would go on to be dubbed the Dream Team, delighting the whole of Europe with their spectacular play and finally winning Barça’s first ever European Cup at Wembley in May 1992, along with an unprecedented four consecutive league championships and several other titles besides. This was undoubtedly his finest period in terms of sporting success, and he was re-elected to the presidency for the third time when he beat Sixte Cambra by 25,441 votes to 17,609 in 1989. In 1993 he would win a fourth term of office, this time unopposed.
After eight years, the relationship between coach and president had become strained, and Nuñez decided to put an end to the Cruyff era and brought in Bobby Robson to fill in while he awaited the arrival of Louis van Gaal, the man he had singled out to take the club into the future. The year the veteran Englishman coached Barça will always be remembered for the presence at the club of the brilliant Brazilian Ronaldo, whose amazing performances thrilled the crowds en route to the European Cup Winners Cup, Spanish Cup and Spanish Super Cup. That same 1997, Núñez was re-elected for the final time after winning 76 per cent of the votes ahead of 24 per cent for his rival, Àngel Fernández. A few months after, the president had to overcome a motion of censure presented by the opposition group called El Elefant Blau.
Meanwhile, Louis van Gaal was putting together a team that would win two Leagues and one Cup in his first two seasons. But his trophy-less third season and patent inability to win over the affection of the fans brought Van Gaal’s first period as Barça coach to an untimely end. Support for Nuñez was waning too, which was more than evident in the club’s centenary year, and eventually led him to resign from the position and bring forward the elections, thus leaving the job after 22 years in charge of the club.
Naturally, as Nuñez was in charge of the club for the longest period in club history, he also won more titles than any other president. In football alone, under Nuñez the club won 7 League, 6 Spanish Cups, 5 Spanish Super Cups, 2 League Cups, 1 European Cups, 4 Cup Winners Cups, 2 European Super Cups and 3 Catalan Cups.
This caretaker president was the son of demochristian politician Manuel Carrasco i Formiguera, who was shot dead by Franco’s troops during the Civil War
Raimon Carrasco (Barcelona, 1924) was a member of the board during the presidency of Agustí Montal i Costa (from December 18, 1969 to December 18, 1977), first as secretary and then as vice president.He became interim president on December 18, 1977, and remained in the post until July 1, 1978, the day that Josep Lluís Núñez effectively stepped into the president’s role.
During Raimon Carrasco’s temporary presidency, a transitional period that he was able to deal with professionally and efficiently, the club won its eighteenth Copa de Rey by beating Las Palmas in the final, 3-1. He was responsible for overseeing the first free and democratic elections at the club since the Civil War.
Agustí Montal i Costa (Barcelona, 1934), son of ex-president Agustí Montal i Galobart, was vice president of the board under Carreras and following his resignation decided to stand for the post himself
Montal was a member of one of the great Barça families, and defeated Pere Baret, who wanted the club to break completely from its past, and only lost by 14 votes.
During his presidency and although Franco was still alive, Montal was an outspoken defender of Catalan nationalism and a committed opponent of the centralist attitudes of the Federation and the Sports Delegation. It was thanks to his ideas that Fútbol Club Barcelona started to recuperate its old symbols, which included reversion to the club’s original name. He started using the Catalan language in the club newsletter, on the membership cards, on the stadium megaphone and in many other areas, despite the numerous difficulties that doing so entailed. He also confronted the Federation during the ‘Guruceta case’ and was a firm defendant of the club’s own interests. For example, he made a stand against the discrimination that Barça suffered when it came to signing players born abroad to Spanish parents, as was the case with Heredia. This directly influenced the Federation’s decision to change its criteria and allow the signing of foreign nationals, and so it was that Barça were able to sign Johan Cruyff, considered the best player in the world at the time.
The inclusion of the ‘Flying Dutchman’ was one of the main reasons why Barça won the league title in 1973-74, and this obviously helped Montal to get re-elected on December 18, 1973, easily defeating his only opponent, Lluís Casacuberta, by 902 votes to 340.
Agustí Montal’s other achievements during his eight years in charge of the club included the triumphant Platinum Anniversary celebrations, the modernisation of the club administration and the injection of new life into the other sports sections through the construction of the Palau Blaugrana and Ice Rink in 1971.On December 18, 1977, at the end of his second term, Montal stood down as president and made way for his vice president Raimon Carrasco to take over as caretaker president in the build up to the elections that were held in May 1978.
Narcís de Carreras (La Bisbal d'Empordà, 1905- Barcelona, 1991) became president of Fútbol Club Barcelona on January 17, 1968 after standing in the name of a united front
It was during his acceptance speech that he coined what would go on to become the club slogan: “Barça is more than a club”. Carreras was a distinguished figure in Catalan society, and had been Cambó’s personal secretary in his younger years. He was a lawyer with liberal and democratic ideas (although he did have a possibilist attitude to Francoism, for which reason he once stood for Spanish parliament) and had already formed part of the Barcelona board as vice president under Montal senior and Enric Martí. Under the latter he played a particularly important role in the infamous ‘Di Stefano case’, although his interventions did not manage to avoid failure. Following the resignation of Martí, his intention was to stand for election, but pressure from the Falangists prevented him from doing so.
As president, Carreras wished to include representatives of different Barça families on the board, but this initiative, which was a good one in principle, ended up being the cause of no end of problems and confrontations between different members of the board. The 1968-69 season was especially critical as a result of the controversial signing of manager Helenio Herrera. Until then, Salvador Artigas had been first team coach and his contract had only just been renewed. But while Barcelona were on an American tour, a board meeting was discussing whether or not it might have been a better idea to employ Helenio Herrera. A vote was held, and eleven favoured Herrera and seven opposed him. The signing of a replacement coach meant Artigas’ contract was automatically terminated.
Three members of the board immediately travelled to Italy to negotiate with Helenio Herrera and the terms of the eventual agreement were for the Argentinian manager to earn more than twice the amount that Artigas was getting. This would have serious financial repercussions for the club and the supporters’ opinions were divided on the matter, which led to the board deciding to change their minds and Salvador Artigas stayed on in the job.
Carreras played an unfortunate role in this messy affair, for just when the controversy had hit its peak, he was away at a meeting with the Fairs Cup Organising Committee in Budapest. He had left the matter in the hands of his vice president Pere Baret, which cast serious doubts on his authority, and there were calls in many part for Carreras to resign. Finally, on December 18, 1969, Carreras stepped down from his position as president.
After Miró-Sans resigned, new elections for the presidency of Fútbol Club Barcelona were called in June 1961
Two of the members of the previous board were in the running: Jaume Fuset and Enric Llaudet (Barcelona, 1916-2003), with the latter winning through. Llaudet based his manifesto on ten points, some of which were extremely interesting, though perhaps less innovative than those presented by his opponent. The more outstanding aspects of his candidacy included the creation of internal regulations, the calling of a referendum to decide on the future of Les Corts stadium, economic austerity, amateurism in the sections and the creation of a school-residence for young players.
The elections were held on June 7, 1961 and Llaudet defeated Fuset by an incredibly narrow margin of just 24 votes. The new president was going to have to deal with several difficulties in terms of both finances and sporting success. One of the measures he took was to solve the club’s financial troubles by requalifying the Les Corts site, which led to extensive negotiations with the Barcelona City Council. Finally, in the summer of 1962, the Council agreed to the club’s request and in 1966 the old ground was sold for 226 million, a figure that was enough to stabilise the FC Barcelona coffers.
It was precisely this operation that gave Llaudet the credibility he needed to comfortably get through the next election in 1965, at which he defeated Josep Maria Vendrell by 164 votes to 35. In the summer of 1966, the club was in an optimistic mood, and Llaudet created the Joan Gamper Trophy. But the 1966-67 season was a major failure in a sporting sense, and Llaudet was faced by heavy opposition that seriously questioned his management methods and put pressure on him to resign.
At the end of the season, the Barcelona president responded to the opposition by constituting a Consultant Council formed by representative members of the club, but this initiative did not produce the expected results. It was under those circumstances that Llaudet went into the Assembly of delegates in a highly precarious position indeed and he decided to bring the next election date forward to the following January, and did not stand for them himself. Before leaving the post, on January 17, 1968, Llaudet called for the creation of a single candidacy in order to avoid an election campaign that could prove damaging to the club. Narcís de Carreras was named as the man, and was elected president by acclamation.
Once president Miró-Sans had resigned on March 1, 1961 a Managing Commission chaired by Antoni Julià de Capmany took control of the situation. Formed by eight directors, this interim government ran the Club through difficult times until the presidential elections of June 7.
The members of this board were president Antoni Julià de Capmany; vice president Artur Suqué; treasurer Enric Verdú; vice treasurer Jaume Amat; accountant Fabià Estapé; vice accountant Xavier Font; secretary Joaquim Viola; vice secretary Artur Martí Cot; and board members Josep Oller, Joan Maria Xiol, Joan Escribà, Miquel Viader and Baldomer Cabré and deputies Albert Pons, Jordi Rottier, Enric Tolosa, Climent Vidal and Vicenç Carrés.
This team had to work in the midst of a serious sporting, social and financial crisis. In order to sort out the lack of cash-flow, the Managing Commission was obliged to sell major star Luis Suárez to Inter Milan for what was then an astronomical fee of 25 million pesetas. This operation was signed on May 26, 1961, five days before the European Cup final in Berne between FC Barcelona and Benfica, that cursed match in which Barça lost 3-2 due to some horribly bad luck. On June 7, the presidential elections were held and the Managing Committee’s withdrew from its duties.
After Enric Martí resigned, given the gap in legislation, presidential elections were called by universal suffrage
Miró-Sans (Barcelona, 1918-1989) defeated Amat Casajuana by only 311 votes and became the latest president of Fútbol Club Barcelona on December 23, 1953.
In a sporting sense, Barça won their first European titles, two Fairs Cups, while on the domestic scene, they won two Leagues and two Cups. The other major development under Miró-Sans was the completion of the Camp Nou stadium, which was inaugurated on September 24, 1957, a major leap forward for the club, which now had a wonderful new home that could meet the needs of its rapidly growing membership.
In 1958, Miró-Sans became the first Barça president to be re-elected, although these were very different to previous ones, as they were decided by drawing the names of 200 members by lots, and it was these who had to decide who would run the club. Francesc Miró-Sans easily defeated the other candidate Antoni Palés with 75 per cent of the votes. But some of his decisions led to disagreements at the club, which complicated his position to the point that it became unsustainable. So, on February 28, 1961, one year before his second term was due to end, Miró-Sans handed in his resignation.
Enric Martí had been vice president under Agustí Montal and became his right hand man, and was therefore his logical successor
When Martí became president on July 16, 1952, he inherited a triumphant club and his challenge was to keep the momentum flowing.
In the only season that Enric Martí was in command at Fútbol Club Barcelona, the team won the League, Cup and the Copa Eva Duarte, but that positive dynamic was broken by the controversy of the ‘Di Stefano case’, which led him to resign from the position.
Barça, who had already made an advance to River, the club that owned the rights to the Argentinian star, saw how Real Madrid came to an agreement with Millonarios Bogotá, where Di Stéfano was currently playing on loan. Although FIFA considered Barça to be in their legal rights and the Argentinian had already arrived at Fútbol Club Barcelona, the Spanish Federation, under pressure from state organisations and Real Madrid, stood in the way of the transfer and thus prevented Di Stéfano from ever making his official debut for FC Barcelona. The situation was prolonged for more than three months reaching the point of becoming unbearable, whereupon the National Delegation of Physical Education and Sport passed a judgement prohibiting clubs from signing foreign players, and so Fútbol Club Barcelona decided to sell the Argentinian on to Juventus.
But Real Madrid had not given up on Di Stéfano, and the Spanish authorities eventually came to decision akin to the judgement of Solomon. The Argentinian star would play for Real Madrid in the 1953-54 and 1955-56 seasons, and for Barça in 1954-55 and 1956-57. President Enric Martí signed the agreement, but was so widely criticised for doing so that he was forced to announce his resignation on September 22, 1953.
A few weeks later, Fútbol Club Barcelona decided to withdraw their claim to the player and so it was that Real Madrid signed Di Stéfano on a permanent basis.
On November 1945, Agustí Montal i Galobart (Barcelona, 1904-1964), presented a motion requesting an end to be put to the provisional nature that the club management had been working under for the last few years
Agustí Montal i Galobart was an accountant on the board led by Josep Vendrell. The war was over and Montal felt it was time for the club to get back to normal. The board accepted the proposal and announced it to the Catalan Federation, who passed the message on to their Spanish equivalents. Ten months later, Vendrell and his board presented their resignations and the authorities named Montal as the man who was, undoubtedly, the ideal candidate to replace them.
This democratic industrialist became president on September 20, 1946, which signified the definitive start of Fútbol Club Barcelona’s march towards grandeur. During the six years that Montal was in power, Barça consolidated their place among the elite of Spanish football, winning consecutive league titles in 1948 and 1949, the year that the club successfully celebrated its Golden Anniversary.
But the greatest season of the Montal presidency had yet to come. That was 1952, when the club was coached by Slovak Ferdinand Daucik and contained such illustrious names as Ramallets, Kubala, Basora, César and Manchón, to name but a few, and won the League, Cup, Latin Cup, Martini Rossi Trophy and the Copa Eva Duarte. That amazing year has gone down in club folklore as the ‘Barça of the 5 Cups'.
These were such successful times that even the expanded Les Corts stadium was too small to hold the huge number of fans that wanted to watch the amazing team in action. Montal, a great visionary, purchased a new site where, not long after, the Camp Nou would be erected.
On July 16, 1952, Agustí Montal decided to stand down from the presidency after a series of outstanding managerial achievements that have led to him being considered one of the finest presidents the club has ever had, especially considering the difficult times he had to get through.
The twenty-sixth chairman in Barcelona’s history was Josep Vendrell, an army colonel who fought on Franco’s side in the Civil War and at the time was the Government Delegate for Public Order in La Coruña
Vendrell was appointed by the government as the right person for a post which they wanted to see held by people linked to Franco’s regime.
During his term of office, which began on 22 September 1943, good relations with the regime’s federation and sports bodies, which had deteriorated after the Chamartín scandal, were restored.
In general, Vendrell’s time as chairman was positive as the club reached 22,000 members and the Les Corts ground was extended. In addition Barça won its second League title (44-45) and the Gold Cup.
After three years at the helm of the club, Josep Vendrell left his post on 20 September 1946.
Josep Antoni de Albert took over from the Marquis de la Mesa de Asta after his definitive resignation on 20th August 1943
A member of a well-known Barcelona family and owner of the company España Industrial, he was the first President of the football club of this company, which years later would play in the First Division.
His arrival in the presidency of Barcelona Football Club happened at a very problematic time for the Club, and this led to him having enormous difficulties in finding the eight people he needed to form the Board of Directors. After his efforts had been rewarded, he was named Vice-President of the Catalan Football Association and was, therefore, forced to leave the position of President of our Club, on 20th September 1943 - only one month after being voted in.
Josep Vidal Ribas was the President of Barcelona Football Club during the very brief gap that existed between the Marquis de la Mesa de Asta's two terms in office
Following the Marquis's first resignation, he was chosen to head an interim committee which ran the Club from 10th July to 13th August 1942. Vidal-Ribas, a member of a distinguished Barcelona family, had previously been Vice-President of Barça, and later also held a position on the Board - this time as Secretary. The enforced return of Piñeyro meant that his presidency only lasted 33 days.
Enrique Piñeyro y de Queralt (Barcelona, 1883-1960), an aristocrat who was closely connected to the Franco regime, was named President of Barcelona Football Club by the authorities
Piñeyro had had no prior dealings with the Club, but he had the great virtue of surrounding himself with a Board of Directors on which life-long pro-Barça men predominated. He quickly understood the feelings that Barça awakened in people, something which made him into a man who was devoted to Barcelona Football Club and who became its principal defender during a period which was extremely unfavourable to the interests of the Club. Under his presidency, Barcelona Football Club began to get over the trauma of the Civil War and finally, after a long period without seeing any silverware, Barça again won a trophy; the Copa del Generalisimo, in 1942. The downside of the season was how much they suffered to stay up in the First Division - the Blue-and-Reds were in the relegation playoffs against Murcia, which in the end they won easily enough (5-1). Just one week later, after having held the position for two years and four months, on 13th August 1942, Piñeyro handed in his resignation, saying that he had accomplished what he had set out to do. The Catalan Football Association accepted his decision, but the most important governmental bodies of the time voted against it and so, one month later, the Marquis de Asta had to take over the presidency once again for a second term, which lasted until 20th August 1943. After the shameful 11-1 hammering that Barça received in Chamartín, Piñeyro again resigned - this time definitively.
During his presidency, it is worth pointing out that the areas behind the goals and down the side of the Les Corts ground were increased in size and a basketball court was built. As well as this, baseball, cycling and handball were officially promoted.
After the Civil War the Franco regime ordered the creation of another management committee to take charge of the running of Barcelona Football Club. Dr. Joan Soler agreed to head this committee and, on 6th May 1939, he became the first President of the Club in the new era which began after the war
The directors who helped Soler in the difficult task of relaunching the Club were men who had already worked for Barça; men like Jaume Guardiola, who took on the role of Vice-President and Joan Bargunyó, who acted as Secretary. However, on the new Board there were also three directors chosen by the regime, whose job it was to exercise strict control over all activities of Barcelona Football Club. The degree of scrutiny to which the Club was subjected was so extreme that the police even opened a specific file for spying purposes.
Even in these difficult conditions Joan Soler tried to run the Club with certain objectives in mind; the recuperation of lost members -membership having dropped to 3,500, the reopening of the ground in Les Corts, the reorganisation of Club administration and the rebuilding of the squad. With regards to this last objective, the Barça President strengthened the youth programme and brought in the first manager after the war - Josep Planas-, a home-grown trainer with great knowledge of Catalan youth football.
After being in office for one year, the Spanish Olympic Committee and the National Sports Council decided unilaterally to relieve Joan Soler of his post at the head of Barcelona Football Club and, on 13th March 1940, put in one of their own men: Enrique Piñeyro, Marquis de la Mesa de Asta, a man who was totally in accord with the regime.
After the death of Josep Suñol, an Employees Committee was created to manage the club and ensure that nobody could take it over during the Civil War
As Barça had, in theory, fallen into the hands of the workers, the first decision taken was to ‘confiscate’ the club and Les Corts stadium by forwarding them to the CNT-FAYA union. The commission was made up of five people of unquestionable reputation that had always worked at the service of Fútbol Club Barcelona: Pere Ballarín, Manuel Bassols, Àngel Sánchez, general secretary Rossend Calvet and masseur Àngel Mur. On August 31, 1936, in an extremely cunning move devised by Calvet, three directors were added that had formed part of the board under Sunyol: Francesc Xavier Casals, Agustí Bo and Paulí Carbonell. The former took charge of financial matters, a particularly difficult task considering the club’s funds were almost nonexistent, which made him the de facto president. On November 5, 1937, the Employees Committee was dissolved and a new board was formed. Under the Committee, Barça won one Mediterranean League.
Josep Suñol has gone down in Fútbol Club Barcelona history as the ‘martyr president’ as a result of his tragic death when he was in charge of the club in the early days of the Civil War and was shot by Franco’s troops in the summer of 1936
Suñol (Barcelona 1898- Serra del Guadarrama 1936), was a man of outstanding personality and was highly respected by all at FC Barcelona when he joined the board in 1928, curiously enough during the presidency of Arcadi Balaguer, a staunch monarchist and therefore a man of a very different political upbringing to his own. He was President of the Catalan Football Federation in the season 1929-30. In the years of the Republic, Suñol was notorious both for his political activities, as the leader of left wing group Esquerra Republicana, and for his involvement in the sporting world. In the latter field, he was noteworthy as the creator and owner of the weekly magazine called 'La Rambla', which was distributed under the slogan “sport and citizenship”.
On July 27, 1935 he was elected president of Fútbol Club Barcelona. The members put their faith in him because he was the man they felt could sort out the club’s financial problems, a task that had already been started by his predecessor, Esteve Sala, who would now become treasurer, and who, along with accountant Francesc Xavier Casals, would help Suñol to close the season at a considerable profit. On the pitch, the team won the Catalan Championship and reached that famous 1936 Cup Final, at which the then goalkeeper of Real Madrid, Zamora, won the title for his team with a memorable performance.But Josep Suñol’s brilliant career was cut short in tragic fashion on August 6, 1936, when as part of his political activities, the Barça president visited Republican troops near to Madrid. Without noticing, his car entered a zone controlled by Frano’s troops in Sierra de Guadarrama. Suñol was identified and arrested, and without trial, he and his colleagues were shot dead on the spot. News of his death did not reach Barcelona until a week later, where it would cause a major commotion on all levels of society. As a posthumous tribute between the 16th of November and the 17th of January 1939 the Board of Directors decided to name Josep Suñol FC Barcelona President in absentiaf.
The shooting of Josep Suñol was the prelude for one of the most difficult periods the club has ever gone through.
Esteve Sala became the twentieth President of Barcelona Football Club on 16th July 1934, with the principal aim of sorting out the critical situation which the Club was going through. As President he was faced with two main problems; one, financial and the other, sporting
To solve the first the Board, led by Sala, standardised the monthly subscriptions paid by the members - which went up to 5 pesetas. To change the situation on the field, Platko was brought in as Manager and the squad was strengthened with two foreign signings: the Hungarian, Berkessy and the Uruguayan, Fernández, and two home grown players: Raich and Escolà. These measures led to a notable improvement in the performance of the team, who walked the Campeonat de Catalunya that season.
Sala, who was the first President of the club to include a woman - Anna Maria Martínez Sagi - on the Board of Directors, was the owner of the Orient Hotel. The most famous anecdote associated with him was that, due to the enormous admiration he felt for Samitier, he gave him a bedroom and offered to provide his keep for the rest of his life.
After a year of good management, which allowed the club to put the crisis firmly behind it, Esteve Sala decided not to run for re-election for personal reasons and consequently, on 27th July 1935, he handed the presidency to Josep Sunyol.
Joan Coma (Barcelona, 1877-1959) took over from Antoni Oliver as President on 20th December 1931, and lived through one of the most complicated terms in the history of the club
The beginning of his period in charge coincided with a time of internal difficulties, which had resulted in the resignation of his predecessor. In addition, Coma had to face financial problems which were caused by the new policy of wage increases for members of the first team. On top of all this, the declaration of the Republic complicated his job still further, as the existing climate had led to a notable decline in interest in football, which, as far as Barça was concerned, meant a loss of members and consequently a major decrease in revenue. All this caused the Club to suffer a serious economic crisis, and Coma had to do an incredible financial balancing act to prevent it from going bankrupt.
Budget limitations forced the man in charge of Barça to let go of many of the players who had formed the backbone of the great team of the 1920s, and so, in 1932, players like Piera, Mas, Dos Santos and Gual were released. However, undoubtedly the most controversial decision was to let Samitier leave. This caused a wave of protest among the supporters, and Coma had to explain that -The Lobster Man' had left the club both because of his age and because of his undisciplined nature. Popular indignation reached its peak when, only a few days later, 'Sami' signed for Real Madrid, helping them to win the Championship in the 1932-33 season.
In the meantime, the renovation of the Barça squad was not giving the desired results and in the same season the Blue-and-Reds were knocked out of the Cup by Seville, after losing 4-0 in the return game. This result led to the resignation of some Board members and a few days later a letter signed by 800 people demanding his resignation, appeared in the press.
The financial and sporting crisis got worse still during the summer of 1933, when the club finished the season with a large deficit and also a terrible defeat that Barça suffered at the hands of Badalona in a friendly (6-1). The President tried to calm things down and return to some sort of consensus within the club by naming a broad-based Board of Directors, but this measure did not help in any way, as the following season was a disaster. Barça failed in all competitions, membership fell to 8,000 and the terraces of Les Cortes were practically empty. The situation was totally untenable and on 16th July 1934, Coma gave up the presidency.
Antoni Oliver was elected President of Barcelona Football Club on 22nd October 1931, after a stormy meeting during which Gaspar Rosés resigned
Oliver, who until then had been Vice-President of the club, had a short-lived term due to the fact that at precisely the moment he became President, the club was going through difficult times caused by internal divisions. This was worsened by the declining form of the great names, who were the backbone of the team at the time.Following a number of controversial meetings, Oliver tendered his resignation to club members on 20th December 1931, less than two months after his taking over of the presidency.
This prestigious banker became the seventeenth president in the history of the club on March 23, 1929. He will be remembered most of all for being the president in the year that Barça won the first ever edition of the League Championship
While Tomàs Rosés was in charge at Futbol Club Barcelona, the team also won another Catalan Championship (1929-30), but although things were going well on the pitch, the most memorable event of the season was the unexpected rebellion of the players against the board of directors, which was finally resolved by Josep Sunyol (future president) acting as messenger. The squad later admitted that they had been wrong to accuse the directors of being responsible for the inconsideration they had suffered.
This left a sour note to the Tomàs Rosés presidency, and on June 30, 1930, he stepped down from his position. He was replaced by Gaspar Rosés, who thus became president for the third and final time.
President of FC Barcelona from December 17, 1925 until March 23, 1929
An aristocratic industrialist (he was Baron of Ovilvar), a monarchist and personal friend of King Alfonso XIII, he became president eight days before the government suspended all FC Barcelona activities for six months after the booing of the Spanish national anthem on June 14, 1925 at Les Corts.
He was a fervent Barcelona supporter who was held in high regard by the authorities, and was the man who took over from Joan Gamper, who had been forced into resignation and exile in his native Switzerland. These were difficult and delicate times, but Arcadi Balaguer and his board showed an admirable capacity for overcoming the troubles and set about reorganising the club's internal structure.
His excellent work was recognised when in March 1929, after resigning from his post, the new Board of Directors awarded him the FC Barcelona Medal of Merit. Under the Balaguer presidency, the team, with several major stars and at the peak of its golden era, won three Catalan Championships (1925-26, 1926-27 and 1927-28) and two Spanish Championships (1925-26 and 1927-28), and also won the first ever edition of the Spanish League (1928-29).
The fifteenth President in the history of Barcelona Football Club began his term on 29th July 1923, taking over from Joan Gamper, who was stepping down after his fourth period running the club
A few months later, the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera began and Barça, which was an institution that favoured Catalan nationalism, became a persecuted Club. As a result of this, the Management called on the fans to behave correctly at all times.
Cardona's presidency was marked by the progress of the team. The season began well, with Barça becoming Champions of Catalonia ridiculously easily, winning all of the ten games they played. The superiority of the Blue-and-Reds unleashed a wave of euphoria amongst the members, although in the semi-final of the Spanish Championship Real Unión de Irún knocked Barça out after a 6-1 hammering. This defeat led to a confrontation between the Board of Directors and the players, and although this problem was resolved, on 1st June 1924, Cardona handed over his position of President to Gamper, who accepted it for what would be the last time.
Ricard Graells took over from Joan Gamper when the founder of Barcelona Football Club stood down for the third time, on 10th June 1919
His time as President was a complete success. The number of members of the club reached 3,217 and, in line with the aspirations of Catalan autonomy, of which Graells was a great promoter, Barcelona Football Club joined up with other organisations which celebrated the Catalan national day La Diada, celebrated on 11th September. Financially, the club was able to pay off a debt of 16,100 pesetas, which had been carried over from the previous presidency and consequently, for the first time in many years, the club owed nothing to anybody. On the pitch everything also went well, as Barça had got together a superb squad of players, which won both the Campeonat de Catalunya and the Spanish Championship.
At the end of the season, on 27th June 1920, there was a multitudinous general meeting of club members, during which the new Statutes of the club were discussed. An agreement was rapidly reached and the 43 articles, which the secretary Joan Bapista Soler had drawn up, were unanimously approved. As well as this, the monthly subscription paid by club members rose from two to three pesetas, and a committee was formed, made up of the majority of the former Presidents of the club, whose job it was to make an in-depth study of everything related to the proposed building of a new ground, which had started under Gaspar Rosés - the man to whom Graells handed over the presidency on 27th June 1920. Thus began Rosés's second period in charge at Barça.
Gaspar Rosés presided over Barcelona Football Club on three separate occasions. He first took up the presidency on 25th June 1916, when he replaced Rafael Llopart on his resignation
The most memorable aspect of his first presidency, which ended on 17th June 1917, is the so-called ‘Garchitorena Case'. Barça signed this player believing him to be Spanish, when in fact, he was Argentinian, as he had falsified his papers on arrival in our country. As a foreigner, he was therefore not eligible to play in the Campeonat de Catalunya, although in reality, he played the majority of the games. When the competition was coming to an end, Espanyol discovered this irregularity and reported it to the Catalan Football Association, which was presided over by the then President of Barça. This, however, did not prevent the Federation from deciding to deduct the points that Barcelona Football Club had won in all the games in which Garchitorena had played, and to make them repeat the matches. Barça refused and so, consequently, lost a championship that they had already won. This led to Rosés resigning from both his position as top man in the Catalan Federation and his position as President of Barcelona Football Club.Three years later, on 27th June 1920, Gaspar Rosés was once again elected to run the Club. This, his second term in office, was happier because the team won the Campeonat de Catalunya. This success could not be repeated in the national championship because another act of high-handedness from the Federation led to Barça's withdrawal from the competition.
Off the field the most important thing achieved was the setting up of a working party, whose job it was to design a project for a new ground, as the stadium on Carrer Indústria had become too small. On 17th July 1921, Rosés gave up the presidency.
His last period in charge of the Club, which began on 30th June 1930, was marked by the death of the founder of Barcelona Football Club, Hans Gamper, on 13th October of the same year. It was also a period of constant disputes among the Directors, which can be seen by the fact that in a little over a year Rosés presided over three different Boards.On the pitch the most positive thing was the winning of the Campeonat de Catalunya and the low point was being humiliated 12-1 in San Mamés.
Finally, on 22nd October 1931, Rosés left the presidency of the club for the last time.
Rafael Llopart was elected at a meeting held on 29th June 1915 at the ground on Carrer Indústria
His being chosen marked the beginning of a period of peace and consensus at the heart of the Club and the new Board saw that it was necessary to renovate everything, which they did with efficiency and without upset.
The calm which reigned among the management filtered down to the supporters as well as the team, who won the Catalan Championship with authority, winning all eleven games played. During the Spanish Championship there was enormous controversy due to the match against Real Madrid, which was repeated four times, the last time the biased decisions of the referee forcing the Barça players to walk off the pitch. After this result, Llopart and his Board, believing they had failed in their duties resigned - despite the fact that the members unsuccessfully asked them to stay on.
Military man Joaquim Peris de Vargas was one of the most controversial characters in the entire history of the club
He first joined the board in 1910 as vice president, a role he would hold under several different presidents. Following the resignation of Àlvar Presta in September 1914, Peris de Vargas became caretaker president of Futbol Club Barcelona. His presidency was marred by constant controversies, as he always insisted on imposing his own criteria, which even led to his own players rising against him. Peris de Vargas was dictatorial in his ways, and once even went as far to say “Barcelona is me”. He only left the club when the Captain General of Catalonia, seeing that during his temporary presidency the situation at the club has become unbearable, obliged him to resign at the end of the 1914-1915 season.
There was major internal division at the club following the resignation of Francesc de Moxó. Many of the members wanted to see vice president Joaquim Peris de Vargas taking over the club, but many others were fiercely opposed to the idea
A group of new members appeared at the general assembly held on June 30, and they voted in favour of a new board presided by Àlvar Presta.
But this did not solve the rift at the club, and three months after he had been elected, Presta handed in his resignation, on September 29, 1914, as a result of the bad feeling between the board and members. From that moment, vice president Peris de Vargas stepped in as caretaker president.
Francesc de Moxó was elected as President of Barcelona Football Club on 30th June 1913 at a meeting held in the Condal College, which was attended by 700 people at which Gamper left the Club to attend to personal matters
De Moxó got 183 votes, beating Gaspar Rosés with 172 and Joaquim Peris, who obtained 59.The tenth President in the history of the Club was a man who looked for consensus and during his presidency he put an end to the division between the Club and the Spanish and Catalan Federations, managing to reinstate Barça in both organisations. His diplomatic abilities were also decisive in solving internal divisions that existed among the Board of Directors, who were divided into two factions - individualists grouped around Joaquim Peris and those who wanted true democracy in the Club.
The other outstanding aspect of his time in charge of Barcelona Football Club was the progressive growth in professionalism among the players, which brought much controversy along with it.On the pitch, De Moxó was unable to celebrate the winning of any title as Barça finished third in the Catalan Championship and did not get past the qualifying stages of the national tournament. At the end of the season, after only one year in the Chair, Francesc De Moxó resigned on 30th July 1914.
Otto Gmelin became president of Futbol Club Barcelona on October 14, 1909. He arrived after Joan Gamper’s first presidential term, in which he had saved the club from extinction
Gmelin was president for just under a year, until November 17, 1910, when he handed the presidential baton back to the club founder. During the 344 days under Gmelin, known as ‘Gran Otto’ for his corpulent figure, the club was extremely active in what was a worthy continuation of the revitalisation of the club during Gamper’s first period in charge.
The team itself could not have done better: Barça won its first Spanish Championship, became champions of Catalonia without dropping a point, and also won the Pyrenees Cup. This was also the first time the club welcomed a visiting team from Britain, Cardiff Corinthians, who were soundly defeated (4-1).
Gmelin’s period in charge of the club coincided with the demise of amateurism in football, and also the gradual increase in what were known as ‘passive’ members, in other words, those who weren’t interested in actually playing the game, but just wanted to come and watch as spectators.
When he stood down from the post, Gmelin joined Spanish football’s first College of Referees and also stayed on as a member of the board presided by Gamper.
The founder of Futbol Club Barcelona, Joan Gamper, was one of the five children of a well-to-do Swiss family. From a very young age he divided his time between his studies and the practice of several different sports, at which he always excelled
Gamper was a superb athlete, and also enjoyed other disciplines, such as rugby, swimming and cycling. But his greatest passion was for the game of football. In Zurich, where he lived, he founded Excelsior, and later played for Basle and FC Zurich, another club he helped to form. When he was 18, Gamper had to leave his home country for work reasons and moved to Lyon, where he also played for the local team.In 1899, Gamper moved to Barcelona, and his uncle Emili Gaissert, who lived in the Catalan capital, persuaded him to take up residence in the city. And so it was that the founder of the Club arrived in Barcelona, where he carried on playing football in the district of Sant Gervasi and eventually decided to form a club. Gamper grouped as many people around him as he could find that had an interest in a sport that was largely unknown to people in this part of the world. And finally, on November 28, 1899, the dream of forming Futbol Club Barcelona became a reality.
Gamper turned down the opportunity of becoming the first club president, and it was not until 1908 that he took over in a desperate attempt to save the club from extinction. His first presidency began on December 2 following a dramatic meeting at the Solé Gymnasium. The previous president, Vicenç Reig, had resigned after just 22 days in the role, and director Francesc Sanz told the meeting the details of the critical situation the club was in, struggling not just on the pitch, but also financially and socially. His speech as good as claimed that the days of Futbol Club Barcelona were over, but following a ghostly silence, a player called Carlos Wallace asked: "But is there nobody who is willing to save the club? If there is anybody, then all the players will back him up." And at that moment, Joan Gamper, who had said nothing until then, stood up and started speaking enthusiastically: " Barcelona cannot die and must not die. If there is nobody who is going to try, then I will assume the responsibility of running the club from now on. I am sure I will be supported by all those people who, in times when football was something strange that people viewed with mistrust, had no doubt about supporting me and seconding me.
Right now, I want to forget any grievances or inconsideration received, which may have led me to distance myself from the internal life of the club, to reclaim a place in the fight to revive the club that will involve us all. If anybody wants to second me, let them say so."The founder’s words gave everybody renewed hope, and from that moment on, Gamper put the full force of his enthusiasm into the club with the single aim of getting it back on its feet. Of the many initiatives he promoted, he sought to win back the members the club had lost, and it was not long before there were more than two hundred.In a sporting sense, Gamper rebuilt the team, and in 1908-1909 they won the Catalan Championship without losing a game. Another of his challenges was to find Futbol Club Barcelona its own ground, which would eventually be constructed in Carrer Indústria. After 322 days in charge of the club, on October 14, 1909, Gamper stood down as president for work reasons, but stayed on as a member of the board.On November 17, 1910, during a general assembly, the members asked him if he would consider becoming president again, and so it was that Gamper took charge for a second period, which would last until June 30, 1913.
During the 1910-1911 season, the Barça president had to deal with several internal disagreements in relation to the growth of professionalism, and also some highly unfavourable relations with the Spanish Federation.The following season was not without controversy either, and during one particularly tense members meeting, Gamper was on the point of leaving the club. But things calmed down, and the season ended well with Barça winning the Spanish Championship and the Pyrenees Cup.The differences with both the Catalan and Spanish Federations reached an all-time low in the 1912-1913 season and Futbol Club Barcelona, unhappy with both organisations, resigned from the two. At the end of the season, Gamper, fed up with so many problems with the Federations, left his position.But on June 17, 1917, Joan Gamper found himself required at the helm of the club once again. When he took command, he immediately signed Englishman Jack Greenwell, who became the club’s first professional coach. In 1919, the team signed the legendary Zamora and Samitier and on June 19 of the same year, having sorted out so many of the problems plaguing the club, Gamper resigned once again.But two years later, on July 17, 1921, the founder became president for the fifth time in what would be one of the club’s finest periods. The 1921-22 season went down in club history as FC Barcelona won the Catalan and Spanish Championships, and more importantly on May 22, 1922, Les Corts stadium was opened.
The club was financially very sound, and its membership was increasing spectacularly. By the end of the 1922-23 season, Barça had more than ten thousand members, and Gamper, after 742 of the most important days in the club’s history, resigned yet again.On June 1, 1924, a few months before the Silver Anniversary, the founder took the reigns of the club one last time to resolve a series of tense issues affecting the organisation. Once more, the effect of having Gamper as president proved a success, and the celebrations were sensational. On December 17, 1925, Gamper and his entire board were deposed by the Primo de Rivera dictatorship, which closed Les Corts stadium for six months after the supporters had jeered the Spanish National Anthem before a match.And so it was that Joan Gamper, who had always used the Catalanised version of his name and who was accustomed to using the language of his adopted country, said goodbye to the presidency of FC Barcelona for the final time after some brilliant periods without which Futbol Club Barcelona would certainly not be what it is today. The father of FC Barcelona committed suicide on July 30, 1930, probably as a result of his business problems, and his funeral was a massive show of public mourning. The club reserved his name as club member number one, and would later name the prestigious Joan Gamper trophy in his honour.
Vicenç Reig held the shortest presidency in the history of Futbol Club Barcelona
He took charge on November 11, 1908, a time when the club was in a drastic situation.
There were only 38 members left and Reig (who had played in goal from 1900 to 1903) had to struggle against the general apathy of those around him. He was keen to solve crisis, but when he saw just how bad things had become, just 22 days after taking over he presented his resignation on December 2. He called an extraordinary general meeting at which the club would have disappeared for good had it not been for Joan Gamper.
Juli Marial (died 1971) took over as president of FC Barcelona on October 16, 1906, and like his predecessor Josep Soler, had to steer the club through difficult times in both social and sporting terms
His first period in charge of the club coincided with a major restructuring of the team, but just like the previous season, no titles were won, and neither would there be any the season after.
Marial, who was a first team player when he accepted the position of president, continued to combine both roles, and despite his enthusiasm was unable to resolve a situation that was getting more and more critical. At the end of his presidency, on November 11, 1908, the club had lost a third of its members, and there were now only 38 left, the most loyal. The club was in decline, and it looked like its days were numbered.
Josep Soler was president of a club in decline
The Club was involved in very little social activity, and when there was a severe drop in the number of members (at one point as few as 198). The results on the pitch were poor as well, including one particularly humiliating defeat, 10-1 in Bilbao.
It should also be said that at the time, the Association of Clubs was extremely unsupportive of FC Barcelona, which in the 1905-06 season led to a major scandal. Barça were stripped of their Copa Salud title despite winning every game when in the deciding match, won 3-1 against Team X, an appeal was made against Barça because they were not wearing regulation kit. This outrageous protest received the Association’s support, who ordered for the match to be replayed. FC Barcelona refused to play, and so Catalán were automatically declared champions of the tournament. Soler was president of the club for exactly one year.
Arthur Witty (1878-1969), a member of an important English family residing in Barcelona at the time, came to Fútbol Club Barcelona shortly after it had been founded
On September 17, 1903, he became president after having been a member of the board under Terradas.During his period in charge of the club, Witty promoted a series of local youngsters to the first team, including Comamala, Hornos, Quirante and Soler, something which did not go down too well among some of the members. On the pitch, Espanyol were so dominant that Witty, in his time as president, was only able to celebrate one Catalan Championship. Don Arturo, as he was known, also had to face the challenge of yet another change of ground, and the club started playing its home games on a pitch in Carrer Muntaner.Under Witty, Barça played its first international match in Barcelona against Stade Olympique of Toulouse and on May 1, 1904 the team travelled abroad for the first time to play the same side, Toulouse, in Languedoc. Witty brought the first regulation size balls back from England and it was also him who introduced goal nets. As a player, he defended the Barça colours on 74 occasions between 1899 and 1905.After he had run FC Barcelona for 746 days, the club members, of which there were now as many as 234, were sorry to see Arthur Witty stand down as president on October 6, 1905.
Paul Haas was the first president of Futbol Club Barcelona who had not been involved in the foundation of the club, and also the first who never actually played for the team
This German became president on September 5, 1902 and was in charge of the club until September 17 of the following year. This was a period of transition, in which there were serious financial problems due to the high costs of maintaining the club, and there was also major controversy with the Federación Gimnasia Española, who wanted to organise a tournament without foreigners in order to gain better control over football in Barcelona. As a result of this, Haas was one of the biggest driving forces behind the Asociación Catalana de Fútbol, to which most of the clubs of the time belonged.
But those were not the only difficulties Paul Haas had to face, as Barça withdrew from the Copa Macaya after their win over Hispania was unfairly declared invalid. The direct consequence of this controversy was the creation of the Copa Barcelona, which would eventually become the Catalan Championship. The first edition, promoted by Futbol Club Barcelona, was held the next season. And FC Barcelona won that tournament after winning twelve of the fourteen matches they played.
Haas also introduced rugby to FC Barcelona, a sport that would remain part of the club despite not having much success. Another of Haas’ worthy initiatives as president was the introduction of Futbol Club Barcelona cards of honour.
Bartomeu Terrades was one of the most multi-talented people in the entire history of Futbol Club Barcelona
He formed part of the founding board of the club, at which he was named treasurer, and when Walter Wild left on April 25, 1901 he became president. During his presidency, Terrades contributed to the foundation of the Asociación Catalana de Fútbol, which included all the local clubs apart from Espanyol and Internacional, who would join later. Terrades also created the club’s first ever sports commission, made up of Gamper, Meyer and Widerkehr, and formed the second and third teams.
He was a wealthy man and that helped the club get through some difficult situations. In fact, he could be described as the club’s very first patron, shown by way that when the club had to leave the field at Hotel Casanovas, Terrades bought a plot of land in Horta, where the second pitch in the history of the club was built.
Another example of the importance of the money he put into the club was his donation of 1,400 pesetas (quite a sum of money at the time) to clear all of the club’s debts.Under the Bartomeu Terrades presidency, FC Barcelona won its first title, the Copa Macaya in 1902, considered at the time to be the Catalonian Championship.
The second president in the history of Futbol Club Barcelona also played for the team from the first ever match against the English colony, until 1903, playing a total of thirty matches.Due to other professional commitments he was forced to stand down as president on September 5, 1907, after 507 days in the position. Later, during Arthur Witty’s presidency, he was named vice president.
Walter Wild had the honour of being the first ever president of Fútbol Club Barcelona
Wild was one of twelve people at the meeting at which the club was founded, held at the Solé Gymnasium on November 29, 1899. From a wealthy Swiss family, he was the oldest of the original club members and his colleagues unanimously named him president. Wild was a highly versatile gentleman who also appeared in ten matches for the team, including its very first.
But what he will always be most remembered for was what he did as president. Wild allowed his flat in Carrer Princesa to be used for board meetings, and maintained an ongoing diplomatic dispute with another club, Català, as to which was the oldest football club in Barcelona. One of Wild’s most important achievements as president was the way he managed to get Barça its first home ground, at Hotel Casanovas.Walter Wild was re-elected president three times between December 13, 1899 and December 27, 1900, but was forced to resign on April 25, 1901 because he had to leave the country due to work, having been FC Barcelona president for 513 days.
The same day that he presented his resignation, he was named an honorary member in recognition of everything he had done for the club. Wild followed very little of the way the club progressed thereafter, and almost half a century later, when he was the guest of honour at FC Barcelona’s Golden Anniversary, he was astounded to see how the club he had presided over 50 years before had grown.