BarcelonaWhile the World Cup is being played in the Antipodes and in Sant Joan Despí the footballers start the pre-season, the director of women’s football of Barça, Xavier Puig, is sleeping in a hotel in Las Vegas, the last stop of the tour that the men’s first team has made for the last two weeks for the United States. The lawyer, inseparable from Joan Laporta (they have their professional headquarters in the same building on Diagonal in Barcelona), is one of the 10 managers who have accompanied the president on North American soil. The first vice president, Rafael Yuste, also crossed the Atlantic with the official charter; the institutional vice president, Elena Fort; the vice president of the social area, Antonio Escudero; deputy speaker and spokesperson Mikel Camps; the vocal and futsal manager Aureli Mas; the vocalist and director of handball Joan Solé; the member and football manager Joan Soler, and the member attached to the economic area Àngel Riudalbàs. Through the networks, they have all documented their experience in California, Texas and Nevada.
None of these Barça leaders have paid to accompany the first team to the United States. “They have a justified agenda to travel”, club sources argue to ARA, in the same way as the 26 workers – including senior executives – who have traveled to the American west coast and that the 60 people who add up between the squad of footballers, technicians and other profiles necessary in the day-to-day of the first squad (doctors, equipment managers, security, staff press, etc.). Then there is a third group that has completed the same itinerary as the official expeditioners. Family members and friends of managers, workers, technicians and players who flew to Los Angeles two weeks ago and will return to Barcelona with their mobile phone full of memories of a great holiday in the United States. Most of them, especially the younger ones, have shared the experience via Instagram, which has caused some discomfort among members who have not seen this standard of living as consistent with the financial difficulties of the entity.
This newspaper has confirmed through several expeditioners, as well as the company that manages Barça’s trips, that these companions – more than 100, according to some sources – have paid a financial sum to take the planes and sleep in hotels. However, the detail of the expenditure is a closely guarded secret. “The club facilitated travel conditions and a fee for each of them, which they had to pay to get on the plane and be in the United States”, points out one of the witnesses consulted. “I can’t give details, but the regime we have followed is completely consistent with the club’s situation”, underlines a manager who has been on tour. “We cannot give figures because it is an aspect related to our travel policy and requires confidentiality, but all the companions have paid for the trip, accommodation and personal expenses”, they receive from the environment of Laporta. “Everyone pays, but obviously with very significant discounts”, says a person close to the board.
Shades between Laporta and Bartomeu
The ARA has not had access to the details of the current protocol, but to the proposal that the former CEO Ferran Reverter promoted in July 2021 to control an approximate expenditure of 13 million per year on travel. This document states, for example, that only three managers will be able to accompany the president to League matches. Instead, it states that the tours will be “open to all board members” and that the first chaperones will be governed by “a price to this following the same criteria as for regular trips, as long as you travel on a charter flight”.
Following this premise, and with the code in hand, they will not be charged “neither plane nor accommodation with early check-in i late check-out” and they will have covered “air taxes, additional catering services and transfers” in exchange for 160 euros for League matches with a hotel night and 275 for European travel: that is, a part of what in total assumes the club for pack whole In this protocol there are no details about the additional companions – on the current tour, there were executives with more than one family member on the plane – but it is clear that “in case of numerous trips, the list of ‘attendants will be validated by the general manager”. Nowadays, in factthis executive role is fulfilled by Laporta himself.
In the current Barça, everyone who is not a member of the squad, staff, manager or employee of Barça pays something to go on the tour. On the other hand, according to the protocol of Josep Maria Bartomeu’s board, to which this newspaper did have access, “a companion with a family link” did have all expenses paid. “You had to share a room with this person, who was usually your wife,” recalls one of the former managers, “and if not, you had to pay for the hotel separately.” What was more restrictive was the number of leaders who could go with the team: a maximum of six, as well as the regime for companions joining the expedition. “They will always pay the member or follower price […] They can buy just the plane or the whole package. The price of the plane will not change even if only one of the routes is used,” says the document in question.
And Real Madrid, how does it do? In this promotional tour, the white expedition has not exceeded 70 people between players, staff, managers and workers. Meanwhile, Champions League champions Manchester City only cover travel for essential employees beyond the team. If they want to get on the plane, the members of the board citizen they have to go through checkout. Nothing to do with Barça, where the border between going on tour and enjoying a subsidized holiday is a little more fragile.
#family #friends #tour #pays #vacation