Sandro Rosell and Toni Freixa, en roda de premsa / PHOTO: GERMÁN PARGA-FCB

President Sandro Rosell and Club Spokesman Toni Freixa held a press conference this afternoon to express the Board’s absolute confidence in manager Tito Vilanova and his coaching staff. “I want to make it very clear that the Board stands behind Tito Vilanova while he’s away, we’ll wait for him as long as we have to,” declared Mr Rosell. “His recovery is our priority and I’d consider this season a success if he fully recovers from his illness. He will not leave even if it costs us every single title,” added Rosell.

“He’s encouraged, and he’s eager to return”

The president, who travelled to New York City to visit Tito Vilanova last week, confirmed that the manager “is doing well and he’s very encouraged, considering he’s undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.” He added: “Tito is eager to return, he’s counting down the days.” The FC Barcelona president also confirmed that the manager could be back in Barcelona by the end of March. In the event that Barça defeat AC Milan, the manager could be on the bench for the away leg of the Champions League quarter finals.

Grateful to Jordi Roura

Mr Rosell also highlighted the work done by Jordi Roura and Barça’s coaching staff in Tito Vilanova’s stead: “For me he’s a hero. We have to thank him for the responsibility he’s taken on, because it’s something that was unexpected, and also the coaching staff and the players, who are carrying a heavy burden.”

On the team’s current form, Rosell reminded the journalists that “nothing is on fire” and that the team has gone “many days without a leader,” which has led to a dip in “freshness and tension.” With that said, he called for respect for a team that has played four and a half years of brilliant football and that deserves “more credit than two lost games.”

Neymar, on the list of possible signings

Mr Rosell then went on to confrim FC Barcelona’s interest in signing Neymar, who currently plays for Santos. “It’s true that our team of observers and managers like this player. He’s on the list of possible future signings,” said the president.

Security at the Camp Nou

Moving on from the first team, Mr Rosell and Mr Freixa said that 110 Club members have been able to purchase tickets for 10€ for the Gol Sur section of the Camp Nou since the match against Espanyol (2013). “We wanted to run tests and we should have told the Mossos [Catalan police authorities] and we committed an error when we didn’t,” confessed Mr Rosell, who was clear that the Board has always acted “on good faith, we’ve always advocated for a zero violence policy and we’ve wanted to unify our supporter groups.”

Now, however, both Mr Rosell and Mr Freixa announced that the Club will no longer make these tickets available to fans and the Grada d’Animació project will no longer be pursued. Despite the fact the Mr Rosell would have liked to have the Grada d’Animació, he declared: “this is our mandate, we won’t talk about the subject any longer. The project has been aborted, the story ends here. We believe that this is the safest thing to do.”

Along these lines, Mr Freixa announced that the Club awaits a sanction for the incident involving a flare during the Barça-Madrid match from the Ministry of Interior.

Espionage

On the espionage commissioned by the Club from 2008 through 2010, the Board announced that “legal action will be taken to preserve the image of the Club, the privacy of its employees and the legacy of the institution.” According to Toni Freixa, FC Barcelona wants to know “who was spied on and why.”

Along these lines, the spokesman announced that the Club spent a total of 3.1 million euros on espionage: 800,000 euros to Método 3 and 2.3 million euros between Intelligence Bureau and Cyber Experience.

Mr Freixa also said that “technically the Club is not the plaintiff in this situation” and therefore “has not legal standing to pass judgement.” The Club member that presented the complaint, according to Mr Freixa, is legally able to press charges. Mr Rosell explained that the Board held an informal meeting on whether or not to carry out judgement: “the majority of the Board would rather not pursue action, it’s not our job and we don’t want the innocent to pay along with the guilty.”