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Institutional statement by FC Barcelona

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16.06.2011 12:54

Institutional statement by FC Barcelona

Below we reproduce in its entirety the institutional statement made by FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell before the press.

Institutional statement by FC Barcelona

"FC Barcelona is coming to the end of what is already the best sports season in its history, thanks to the 15 titles won by our teams, with its methods being praised and admired around the world.

The football first team has won the league championship for the third year in a row and the fourth European Cup is now in the Museum. After overcoming all kinds of difficulties, Barça has been rewarded in wonderful fashion, in the form of titles and global recognition of its unique approach to football.

Despite the many provocations received, we decided to stay loyal to two convictions: that above all we had to protect the sporting interests of the team and that we had to comply with our social responsibilities as the representatives of almost 180,000 members. Our hearts wanted something else, but our honour and integrity led us to opt for prudence. We were provoked, but we stayed calm. And so did our members and fans. And I would like to thank you for such exemplary behaviour.

Now we are enjoying the fruits of that. Once again, football has put everybody in their place. The display at Wembley was the most powerful response to the attacks on FC Barcelona this season. Our team has come to be admired and recognised everywhere for its marvellous football and the values that represent and define our institution. And the values we represent include dignity and honour. Because there have situations that must not be repeated in the future.

I would like to speak in the name of all Barça fans that have felt assaulted or damaged by the serious accusations and slander that has been directed at our Club of late. Premeditated accusations with only one objective: to achieve off the pitch what could not be achieved on it. Accusations that certain media have manipulated without any sign of rigour or scruples.

Given all the above, in the name of FC Barcelona, I wish to express the following:

1. Clubs have a social responsibility that we must assume and respect above any rivalry. We are entrusted with many collective desires. We set an example for the behaviour of many millions of people, especially children. In our case, moreover, we are aware that we represent the feelings of a large number of a people. And we consider that this season Real Madrid has gone beyond all the limits of necessary sporting rivalry, with its totally unfounded accusations against our Club.

2. It wanted to justify our team’s extraordinary sporting performances with pathetic accusations against our doctors and players regarding the use of drugs. We defended ourselves, and went to court to deny the accusations made by Cadena COPE, who repeatedly gave the name of Real Madrid as the source and origin of the information. I can assure you that if anybody, in the name of FC Barcelona, had dared to make such an accusation, we would have acted firmly, denying this immediately and taking those responsible to court. We would have liked a similar response from Real Madrid, but sadly we never got one.

3. Comments by the protagonists have always served to enrich footballing debate. But this season a Real Madrid employee, its coach, also went beyond all the limits of necessary sporting rivalry. He even went as far as to say that our coach should feel ashamed of some of our victories. The press conference given by the Real Madrid coach after the first leg of the Champions League semi finals at the Bernabéu would certainly have made any sportsperson feel ashamed. He accused our Club of having won titles thanks to some kind of national and international conspiracy, implicating in this conspiracy the good name of Unicef and the football authorities. We obviously defended ourselves, by presenting a formal complaint to UEFA, who finally decided to exert their authority and penalise him.

4. Surprisingly, Real Madrid’s response to our legitimate right to defend our honour was a formal complaint against eight of our players, who they accused of unsportsmanlike and even racist behaviour to try to get them suspended for the return leg. We also defended ourselves and Real Madrid did not get their way, as UEFA twice rejected their accusations.

5. The rivalry will continue next season, but we cannot allow the limits of fair play to be passed again. Because football deserves fair competition and FC Barcelona will do all it can to protect it. If we can, we shall return to the corresponding courts and sporting authorities. However, nobody should expect us to go as far as certain behaviours. Our values, which we teach the youngsters at the Masia, and which we have defended and respected for decades, do not allow that.

6. Our social responsibility towards millions of football fans requires us to maintain certain standards. Real Madrid and FC Barcelona both have more than one hundred years of history, with a huge level of commitment to their members, fans and society, and are obliged to work together in certain affairs. However, if the limits of fair play are passed once again, we shall be obliged to end our institutional relations, something we have absolutely no desire to do. We do not want to do that, but we are not afraid of doing it if we have to.

7. A few days ago, the president of Real Madrid said he will not stop until they win “the tenth”. We hope he tries to do that on the field of play, in a sportsmanlike fashion and returning to the methods that, we feel, many Madrid fans prefer. The president of Real Madrid has the opportunity to revive our relations, both on and off the field. Football, which tends to give back what you give it, will be the major beneficiary.

By means of this institutional statement, FC Barcelona wishes to put an end to this lamentable episode, which we hope will never be repeated again, for the good of football, of sport and of all of us that love it."

Sandro Rosell i Feliu
President FC Barcelona

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