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Mar 5, 2013

Rosell will not chase Laporta for debt

Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, insists that Tito Vilanova will remain as head coach when he returns to full health.

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell says he will not officially push for payment of the €23 million which the Spanish Supreme Court has ruled is owed to the Catalan club by former board members, but says the matter is out of his hands.

In February the court ruled that ex-Barca president Joan Laporta and seven former colleagues were personally responsible for guaranteeing a €23 million deficit dating from the 2002-03 season, an apparently final decision in a long-running case brought by Barcelona member (socio) Vicenc Pla. Barcelona board spokesperson Toni Freixa then said he expected the club would receive the money.

Laporta stated at a press conference on Tuesday at the Camp Nou that he and his colleagues would not have brought the case.

"This afternoon was the first time we spoke about that with the board," Laporta said. "It generated debate. Without being able to do anything in that respect, I can guarantee that the majority of the members of the work team which I lead would have been against the execution of the sentence."

Rosell accepted that Pla could still push for the money to be paid, while denying Laporta's claim that the current board had orchestrated the whole affair.

"I do not know [Pla] at all, even with all that is being said," Rosell said. "We will see now what he does."

Asked if it seemed unfair that former club executives were being held personally responsible for a decision which they claim was made in the club's best interests at the time, Rosell was philosophical.

"The good ones should not pay for the sins of others," he said. "Those who have been found guilty must execute [the guarantees], or make a plea to the person who brought the case. We are waiting."

Rosell, who said the club were looking forward to the return of coach Tito Vilanova in the near future and would play friendlies next summer in Shanghai [August 4], Bangkok [August 7] and Kuala Lumpur [August 10], was also questioned about the scenes during last week's Copa Clasico defeat to Real Madrid, when members of Barca's Boixos Nois ultras appeared to launch flares into the away support.

The Boixos Nois had been banned from the Camp Nou during Laporta's term as president, but Rosell said he had met with them recently as part of a plan to improve the atmosphere inside the stadium, and admitted selling a block of 110 tickets for the Madrid game to the group for a cut-price €10.

"We were looking for an agreement with all the fans groups, so we met with them, including a representative of the Boixos," he said. "They wanted to do things well. It is a pity that we cannot have a special lively area inside the ground, with zero tolerance. Those who could have helped us with that did not do so. So we are ending that plan. We did it in good faith, as all Barca fans are our own. We tried but it did not go well."

Rosell said that the club should have told the local Barcelona police of the plan.

"We are a private club, but I recognise that we were wrong," he said. "We should have spoken before the game with the Mossos d'Esquadra [police force of Catalonia] and informed them of all our steps."

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