Former coach claims FC Barcelona owes money to him

Friday, December 24, 2010

MADRID - Johan Cruyff, former captain and coach of Barcelona, is claiming that the club owes around 100,000 euros ($131,154) to his charitable foundation.

Cruyff’s foundation, which helps orphaned and sick children, has had a contract with Barca for five years.

“I am worried,” Cruyff told Catalunya Radio Thursday, “that the foundation has a contract with them and they do not pay. We call them every week. We have a contract for a 100,000 euros per year. The money is not for me, it is for the children.”

Cruyff added that Barca president Sandro Rosell should “behave like a gentleman” and “keep his obligations.”

The row about the money for his foundation should be seen within the context of the bitter feud between Cruyff and Rosell, a feud which threatens to divide the Barca fans and jeopardize the club’s internal harmony.

Online polls and blogs showed Friday that most Barca members and fans support Rosell in the feud, but that Cruyff also has a massive group of supporters.

Cruyff was Barca’s star and captain from 1973 to 1978, then highly successful club coach from 1988 to 1996. He is currently the coach of the Catalan regional team, a part-time and honorary post.

Rosell was Barca vice-president from 2003 to 2005, and effectively the right-hand man of president Joan Laporta, the club’s young new president.

In 2005 Rosell dramatically resigned, claiming that Laporta was too heavily influenced by Cruyff, his old friend. Cruyff was an informal advisor to Laporta throughout his presidency, from 2003 to 2010.

Laporta had to stand down as Barca president in June 2010 after serving for two terms. Rosell, by now his sworn enemy, won a landslide victory to succeed him.

One of the first decisions taken by Rosell was to annul Laporta’s appointment of Cruyff as ‘President of Honour”, an appointment made only three months before he left office.

Cruyff and Laporta were furious at this decision. Cruyff claimed that Rosell had humiliated him, and has been vociferous in his criticism of the new president since then.

In addition, Rosell is at daggers drawn with Laporta about the club’s financial situation and has - with the support of the club’s October general assembly - brought a lawsuit against the former president for financial misdemeanours.

Laporta, who was recently elected to the Catalan regional parliament, has hit back at Rosell with a lawsuit of his own.

Filed under: Sports

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