This Tuesday, Joan Laporta held a long press conference. The president of FC Barcelona mentioned all the hot issues of the moment while making some clarifications. Here are some selected pieces.
One hour and forty minutes. This Tuesday, Joan Laporta was in front of the media for a press conference lasting 1 hour and 40 minutes. The president of FC Barcelona had to explain himself after the terrible fiasco of last Thursday at Camp Nou. Indeed, 30,000 fans of Eintracht Frankfurt had managed to get tickets to attend the quarterfinal second leg of the Europa League against the Culés. The Blaugrana, eliminated from the C3, lost the game 3-2, and also lost the battle of the stands against the Germans who came in force.
This was regretted by Xavi, who wanted to have explanations since UEFA only allows 5,000 opposing fans to be present outside. In the aftermath, Joan Laporta was up in arms: “This will never happen again. We have information about what happened. It is scandalous and shameful. We will take measures and explain them. After conducting an investigation, the Barça leaders were keen to be transparent this Tuesday. Arriving at noon, the Blaugrana president began by apologizing to the club’s fans, annoyed by the incident, before recalling that he was counting on them for the end of the season.
The figures of shame
Then, the residents of the Camp Nou unveiled the “figures of shame” as reported by Sport. In detail, 79,468 were present for the Barça-Eintracht Frankfurt match. There were 34,435 tickets sold by the club, including 5,000 for opposing fans, 37,746 seats dedicated to season ticket holders, 1,290 VIP tickets, 2,425 invitations and 3,572 tickets sold by tour operators who organize operations with tourists. But Barça had problems because many tickets were sold on the web to German fans. The club’s website was saturated and 23,427 tickets were sold.
Laporta, who was keen to point out that the system in place dates back to the previous management, said: “More than 27,201 purchase requests were registered from Germany. In relation to the sale of regular tickets, the system has been overwhelmed. Measures will be taken to ensure that this does not happen again. We have detected a tour operator who has committed an illegal practice and we will terminate his contract.” The blaugrana boss then gave an update on the new measures put in place to avoid a new fiasco.
Laporta defends Barça
“The club is not guilty of what happened, but more ultimately responsible. I insist: we did not sell tickets to German fans. We are responsible and we will take action. We can announce that in high-risk games, tickets will be digital and nominative (…) We will have to be stricter. That’s why we will create a working group that will bring together those responsible for ticketing and security to make appropriate decisions and establish consensual measures.
The president then assured that he had explained to the players and staff. He also took the opportunity to talk about the continuation and end of the season after the defeat of his team against Cadiz. “We faced the last stretch of La Liga very well, with an excellent result at the Bernabeu, but now we are struggling to win. Xavi is looking for solutions. The injuries do not help us either, like Pedri, who was a reference. The situation is different from what we expected. Now it is clear that we must fight in these seven finals to get the best possible result. It has become very difficult to win La Liga”.
The president takes a back seat to the thorny case of Piqué
The Culés could therefore make a blank season. The objective is to finish as high as possible and play the C1. “We need the Barcelona fans more than ever. We have a lot at stake and above all we must do internal work on what is the first team. Xavi is working on it to recover the mentality of playing 3 or 4 games. The coach has the necessary requirement to recover this mentality and motivation of the players, it comes first. Barcelona fans must mobilize to help the team”. A team in which Gerard Piqué is at the heart of a scandal.
Indeed, the defender has participated via his company Kosmos in the redesign of the Spanish Supercup with the president of the Spanish Federation Luis Rubiales. This poses a huge problem since there is a conflict of interest. Joan Laporta was therefore invited to react to this. “Piqué has already given his explanations and I have nothing more to say. This is a subject that I do not know. He has given his explanations and I have nothing to say,” he said. But the case should not end there, since some like Diego Simeone will ask Pique and the Federation to be accountable.
Finally, Joan Laporta slipped a tackle on the subject of refereeing, which he is obviously not satisfied after several disputed decisions against his team or in favor of opponents like Real Madrid. “There are situations that we in Barça do not see well, but I do not want to talk about this issue. I hope that those responsible for refereeing will do everything possible so that we find what should be, absolute objectivity, and that very obvious situations do not occur. They cannot continue to occur because they distort the competition”. The message has been passed on…