Friday, August 11, 2006

Dissent among the ranks

The current political muck traversing FC Barcelona is a perfect example of the worst of Catalan culture. I forget the exact quote, but approximately one week ago, Oleguer Presas said that he was saddened by "cules" capacity for self-destruction. As a defender, Oleguer might not always be the best, but he could not have summarized the situation any better.

For those of you not familiar with the details, a Barcelona shareholder filed suit a couple of weeks ago claiming the Barcelona president Joan Laporta had exceeded his stay as Barcelona presidents. Presidents have four-year terms, and Laporta took charge of the organization two years ago. But he did so 9 days before the official end of the previous president's term had ended. I was still living in Barcelona when this happened, and Barcelona was an absolute mess. The early part of the decade were some of the worst years in the history of the club. So instead of having presided over three years at the club, the court ruled that he had presided over four.

Joan Laporta took the reigns early to kick-start negotiations with PSG for well-esteemed young Brazilian named Ronaldinho. Laporta signed Ronaldinho, and the rest is history. Barcelona has morphed from a team that struggled to qualify for the UEFA cup to the Champions League holders. But has he been rewarded for his efforts?

But things are never so simple in Barcelona. The Catalan capacity for self-destruction rears its ugly head. The inexplicable penchant for naming something an "ista" and splitting into factions has reappeared.

Personally, I have no idea what kind of man Joan Laporta is behind closed doors. He could be Satan incarnate. He could take baby seals and chop them up into little bits. I don't care. I agree with nearly every personnel decision he has made. Therefore, it doesn't matter if he chops up baby seals. All this political crap is absurd. If Laporta is unseeded as President during the one of the most glorious moments in club history, well, I don't know what to say. The Barcelona socios that vote him out will deserve what they get.

The funny thing is, to an outsider, this strikes me as the exact same tendency that Orwell railed against in the Homage to Catalonia. Social issues, passion, idealism ... all crushed by an inability to come to agreement when it matters most. Tragic.


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