Sandro Rosell assumed the role of president of the Club after enjoying an overwhelming victory in the elections on June 13, 2010, where he secured 35,021 votes (61.35%), a record level of support for a president elected by members democratically. The new president ran under the slogan ‘We are all Barça’ and with a campaign created after spending two years listening to members.
Sandro Rosell is the son of Jaume Rosell, who was general manager of Barça from 1975 to 1978 during the presidencies of Agustí Montal and Raimon Carrasco. Having been a Club member since October 4, 1970, Rosell has always been linked with Barça. In fact, when he was young, he was a ballboy at Camp Nou, and began playing football for the Penya Barcelonista de Collblanc and appeared for l'Hospitalet in the Spanish third tier, the Second Division B.
His first stint as a Club director began in 2003. That was when he joined Joan Laporta's candidacy for president in 2003 under the slogan 'Primer el Barça' (Barça First). As the sporting vice president, Rosell was instrumental in bringing Ronaldinho to the club, one of the keys to the social and sporting turnaround that the club enjoyed. On June 2, 2005, with Barça having won one La Liga title during his time there, 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 excellence in football which began in 2008; 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 19 titles in all sports, an all-time Club record. In addition, the football first team overcame the illnesses that afflicted Eric 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, in nearby Sant Joan Despí. 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 hailed from the youth system.
The Club’s economic situation improved dramatically under Rosell’s administration. The Club’s debt was reduced from 430 million euros in 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.
At the same time, the Club carried out measures aimed at economic growth, in addition to economic policies to guarantee the sustainability of the Club and prioritise athletic excellence, both for football and other sports. Meanwhile, membership fees were not raised, as had been been promised during the electoral campaign.
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 was streamlined, and for the first time in nine years 361 new season tickets were issued to members, 14 of whom had disabilities.
Efforts to improve the social aspect of the Club were also seen in updates to the censuses of both Club members and supporters clubs. The Club also reorganised the supporters clubs movement thanks to the XXI Century Project, which was designed to bring the Club closer to the supporters clubs.
The Club’s member services experienced exponential improvement with the 2013 opening of the new Social Headquarters where the old Palau Blaugrana 2 once stood. The new building now houses the FC Barcelona Members Services Office, the Supporters Club Services Office, and the Special Services Office.
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 submitted a proposal to remodel the Camp Nou which was finally put to a referendum in April 2014.
Online, FC Barcelona became the leading athletic club worldwide (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Tencent Weibo, Line). The biggest growth came 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, from September 20th, 2012: "When Catalonia, as a people, as a majority, decides what is best for its future, the Club will be on its side, on the side of the majority."