Rosell: Barca not political

Sandro Rosell has denied that Barcelona are involved in politics and suggested that the Senyera display against Real Madrid was a reaffirmation of their roots.

The club organised for each fan to hold up a coloured card before kick-off that when put together displayed the Senyera [pictured above] around the stadium.

The Senyera is the flag of the region of Catalonia, and Barca’s display of it before the Clasico was seen as their support for its continued attempts to gain independence.

However, for Rosell, who was one of the 1.5m attendees of a protest march for independence on Catalonia’s national day, distanced the club from political activity.

“Since I can remember and have come to the ground, in major events they have always used mosaics and Senyeres,” he told El Periodico.

“I do not know why it has had such an impact this time. And I do not understand how some outside of Catalonia can be offended because Barca displayed a Senyera. When we go to the field of Athletic Bilbao’s the Ikurrinas do not offend us and in Madrid, their Spanish flags do not offend us.

“Conversely, I find it normal, natural, to want to defend your roots. They have taken this debate out of context and there is no reason for it to have been exaggerated.

“Barca does not have a policy. Barca reaffirms the roots of the club, the Catalan in their DNA. We do not take sides, we claim that we are just Barca and we are a Catalan club. To have a political policy would have been to have made a mosaic of the Estelada [Catalan flag].”

Rosell also looked to play down the war of words between Pepe and Andres Iniesta that emerged after the Clasico.

“Pepe’s words and the response from Iniesta have been sensationalised. They are a part of the football mix. Surely if Pepe had made these statements after a match against Real Betis then someone from Betis would have responded like Iniesta did.”

The President reflected on Tito Vilanova’s start to the season and on the question of whether or not there had been any doubts over his position as Coach.

“I only wanted to start well. We wished him to do well. We understand how this works, if the results were not good, comparisons would have emerged, the criticisms…certain games would have been lost.

“But, instead of losing them in month X and it happened now, the doubts would have come now, stories too here and there… We have had success and this has been very good to reassure Tito.”

The club are expected to begin negotiations with Lionel Messi over a contract renewal.

“There’s no rush. It may be tomorrow or next year. Messi will ensure continuity for this season. His contract also ends in 2016. It would be irresponsible not to renew beyond that, but we will if all goes well.”

Tags Estelada Rosell Senyera