Jordi Farré (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, 1975) likes to remember that he is the youngest pre-candidate of those who choose to preside over Barça. Aspiring in 2015 and driving the no-confidence motion that ended up overthrowing Bartomeu, he now focuses his energy on collecting the 2,257 signatures to become a full-fledged candidate. To achieve this, he will give away pizzas and tattoos with the Barça coat of arms at his polling station for three days.
Whose idea was this about pizzas and tattoos?
[Riu.] We were together with the campaign team and as we have with us the best pizzer in the world [Fabián Martín], we thought it was a good idea. And the tattoos, because it’s a way of saying that we take Barça to heart. Basically, what we wanted to do was update the merchandising that has been done all our lives in the election. Chocolate has been given away with melindros, DTT equipment, balls, T-shirts, quality pens … These are marketing actions. Pizzas and tattoos look just as bright to me as Laporta’s action with the canvas. The difference is that he only sells to him and we talk about the whole team. They are very good and very current marketing options.
Well some candidates consider it not serious.
Because? If it is the cheapest merchandise in the world. There have even been two business schools that have asked me if I can attend a conference, because they found this marketing campaign brilliant. It’s all about criticizing. This environment is like that. The country and the entity is sad and we need fun actions. In the end, who doesn’t like not to do it.
But it all adds up to money. How much does it cost to run an election campaign?
Allow me not to say how much. It is worth a lot of money and a lot of effort. I have a company and 800 workers. Some spend it with Ferraris. I spend it with Barça. It’s a major effort but I have the will and the resources. In the end there is not so much difference between my campaign and that of others. For example, how much is the canvas that Laporta hung?
Little by little we get to know his management team. Has it been easy for you to make it?
Well no. I spend a lot of time working. He did not want any of the members to have been on a previous candidacy or on any board of directors. It has not been easy for me to find people who have the time and resources. But in the end I think we have a winning team.
These are his second choices. In 2015 the signature cut did not happen. What did he learn from it?
In 2015 I learned that signatures are not brought to you, you are going to look for them. I didn’t want to campaign during those years, but I kept working thinking about the club. I have traveled a lot with the team, watching football and all the sections, I have been to more than 150 supporters clubs … I have known Barça more.
All pre-candidates say they will have a good time cutting signatures. I guess that’s what it’s all about. But it surprises me. I think it will be very difficult.
And so, that will be very difficult! Who says it’s not because he doesn’t know how it’s going. We will suffer a lot. Everyone. No matches, no coronavirus, no dates … I’m devoting 90% of my time and resources to signings. And the remaining 10% work for the 25th, to be able to govern the club.
Would it be a failure not to pass the cut?
No. With this situation one cannot speak of failure.
Do you think there was bad faith on the chosen date?
Bad faith, I don’t know. Unconsciousness, for sure. The chairman of the management board should have called elections on the first day. And so, this weekend we would already have a president and we could work the winter market. He must have his reasons, I don’t get it.
Seeing the work of the manager, I interpret that he wanted to tidy up the economic part.
But I don’t get it. Each candidate had their own plan to reverse the situation. In the end, everything the president of the management has done will have to be reaffirmed by the new president. I insist I don’t get it.
Does it hurt you, who initiated the vote of censure, that the electoral process has been delayed?
I do not think so. In the end the rules are these and they are the same for everyone.
Will he campaign for Spain?
If I have to tell the truth, I don’t know very well what the campaign will be like. I am totally focused on signatures. I already have a team big enough and good enough thinking about the campaign. For now, signatures, signatures and signatures.
Does it look good for Messi to focus on this campaign?
Of course. It is a basic theme for our club. He is the greatest he has been at Barça. For me, the best in history. I find it very normal that this is the case.
What would you do if you were president?
The day after he won, he would pick up the phone and renew it. I think the team shouldn’t revolve around him, but he should be the icing on the cake. The whole project we have to offer him goes beyond the football player Leo. He may have two, three or four years left as a player. But what I am clear about is that he must be linked to Barça all his life.
Despite having sent a burofax to leave?
All love stories have ups and downs. Who hasn’t argued with their partner?
With Koeman as coach?
Koeman is a legend and I like him to be brave with young people. From here, my technical secretary will speak there the day after I join the club. He will listen to Koeman. We have a very clear sports project. If we believe he and he can go arm in arm, Koeman will follow. Anyway, football is very capricious and it all ends up depending on the results.
When will we know who will be your technical secretary?
You will know him before the election. Leaving an entity right now. I hope you can come here to the headquarters soon. You will like it. For sure.
The economy is another key theme of this campaign. And, above all, the management of Bartomeu’s board. What will you do, at this point, if you are president?
On the first day we will do an audit and hopefully there is nothing punishable. I don’t like to lift carpets because you only find crap in them. But if it is evidenced that someone has committed crimes or embezzlement, obviously we will take action.
Are you afraid of the economic situation you will find yourself in?
Barça has 3,033 million in net worth. Which company would want this balance sheet? We have a value of 2 billion equity. It is an entity with a delicate economic situation, but it is not at risk of bankruptcy, as some suggest. It is poorly funded and needs refinancing, and we are already working on it to see what options we have. And there is another issue, the Espai Barça, of which I think it is necessary to modify the credit model for the concession model. Now it has to be done. Because it’s one of the things that will help us recoup income.
How long do you think it will take for Barça to aspire to everything again?
A half renovation has been done. There are interesting and young players, such as Pedri, De Jong, Dest, Trincao, and some more pieces are missing such as a striker, a center or a winger. I think that between this winter market and the summer market we can make a good team. In the 2021-22 season we have to opt for everything.
Do you think it’s important for the president to understand football?
At least you have to like it. The sports part belongs to the technical secretary, but I think that a president must have authority to prevent you from being hit by a goal with certain signings that clearly do not work for Barça. What is needed is to know the entity, the environment … I think I am one of those who know it best. In the end we sell illusion, football and religion. Because, for me, Barça is my religion.