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Rosell plays down Teixeira assistance

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has admitted he advised former Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Ricardo Teixeira about Andorran residency, but has denied he has anything to fear from investigations into their long-standing commercial relationship.

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell could be set for a period in jail
Sandro Rosell is Barcelona's president.

Teixeira had reportedly been granted residency by the tiny Pyrennean country, which does not have an extradition treaty with Brazil, to avoid any problems that may emerge from current investigations in his home country into alleged malpractice during his two-decade-long spell running Brazilian football.

Rosell told Radio Catalunya that he had helped out Teixeira as he knew how Andorra's system worked.

"When he decided to leave Brazil because his patience was at an end, he informed himself about how to gain 'passive nationality' in various countries," he said. "He asked me about Andorra. I advised him because for 25 years I have had an agency in Andorra, of which I am the founding member, legally constituted and declared. What is the problem? None."

"Having said that, in the end they gave it to him and he chose that of the United States, which is where he is living. Teixeira iniciated the procedures in parallel in Andorra, but in the end he preferred the U.S. "

In March 2012, Teixeira, now 66, cited health reasons when resigning from the CBF and 2014 World Cup organising committee. Rosell rejected a question that his associate was facing a lot of very serious legal problems.

"No," Rosell said. "What he has is lots of cases taken for libel against journalists."

Persistent reports in Brazil say that Rosell, who headed Nike’s operations in South America before becoming blaugrana vice-president in 2003, continued to do business with the CBF before and after his election as Barca chief in 2010. These stories also say that Brazilian authorities have uncovered irregularities in some of these dealings.

In March, it was reported that he could face up to eight years in jail after Brazilian prosecutors accused his sports company of illegally profiting from a Brazil versus Portugal friendly it organised in 2008.

Brazilian newspaper Estadao reported in mid-August that Rosell was still involved in sports promotion -- and that a U.S. company called Uptrend Development, which it said was controlled by the Barca chief, had received €8 million for promoting 24 Brazil friendlies played between 2006 and 2012.

Rosell repeated his recent claim that all his dealings in Brazil have been above board and threatened to take to court anyone who claimed differently.

"I have nothing to hide," the lawyer said. "The only thing I have in Brazil is an administrative error of a company which took part in a bid in which it is said it should not have taken part. I would like to know what I am accused of, and who is doing the accusing. Can you tell me? Whoever wants to accuse me or report me can do it, and we will resolve it in court."

Everyone involved had benefited from his work with the CBF, Rosell said.

"I made an offer to the agency that they had contracted to commercialise the games," he said. "They asked me to pay some money up front. I looked for some Arab partners. What I took was not commission but my professional fees. The CBF need to get the best deal possible. They ended up content, the Arabs too, and us as well."

Asked about last week’s claim by Johan Cruyff that he was personally holding up payments due to the Dutchman’s football foundation, Rosell suggested Barca wanted to know what the money would be spent on before they handed it over.

"The truth is that the Foundation of the club owes money to him," he said. "But it is also true that once all the contracts due are analysed, we will pay. We want to know where the money is going. We have asked the people in his Foundation that they explain that to us. We are still awaiting their response. We admire [Cruyff] as a player; as a person I have another opinion."

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