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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.

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