Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has hit out at the growing trend of foreign ownership of major football clubs and insisted his own club will "never, ever be for sale".
Rosell, the elected head of the Catalan club which has 180,000 members, wants to see more clubs adopt the model of member ownership that Barcelona employ, but instead fears more of the middle eastern and American money that has infiltrated the English Premier League will instead head to Spain in search of new opportunities.
"It is a pity,'' he told the International Football Arena conference in Zurich. "I don't like it but it's happening. It's the open market. In the Premier League there are no more clubs to be sold so now they are coming to Spain. It has gone so far now, I do not think anything can be done about it.
"Barcelona is not a business, it is a feeling. We are not owned by anybody, we are an association; we do not have 'clients'. I will never put a game on at 12 noon for the Chinese audience. We do want to open up our market but not to forget our roots. While I am the president, Barcelona will never, ever be for sale."
But Rosell was forced to defend Barca's recent decision to sell shirt sponsorship for the first time, having received €166 million from Qatar in a five-year deal, saying that it was the only way Barca could compete with owner-funded clubs.
"The fact that it comes from a country is no different to a commercial sponsorship," he said. "If we did not have to fight against competition which has capital, I would never sell anything on the shirt. It would be virgin."