“When I looked at myself from the outside, I saw that I wasn’t projecting myself as I am. Because I don’t like stridencies, I’m a discreet and hardworking person. I lost control,” he admits to the Efe l agency. businessman Emili Rousaud (Barcelona, 1966), who in a few months went from being a complete stranger to being at the center of Barça’s media focus and eventually losing his position as institutional vice-president after resigning.
“It wasn’t the fault of the press. It was my fault. I admit I was wrong, because I didn’t like the image I projected. What I did was because I love the club,” the former manager insisted. In an interview, the successful entrepreneur in the energy sector asks not to address more issues about the Barçagate: “It’s all said and nothing that can be updated. In addition, now we have to wait for it to come out the audit commissioned by the board at PriceWaterhouseCoopers “. Rousaud lived without stridency in the Barcelona board waiting to present himself as the alternative of the Barça council for the 2021 elections, because he never stated either privately or publicly that he had already decided. They had proposed to him and he just said, “I’m excited.” But, as if it were the devastating effect of a hurricane, Rousaud went from absolute anonymity to becoming the focus of Barcelona and the media.
One factor led to this: when Ràdio Barcelona revealed that the club had hired a company to have good positions on social media and it was made public that the price was out of the market and that the messages were not only kind to the board, but contrary to staff of the entity and former club athletes. Rousaud was directly affected by this circumstance because he belonged to a commission that had to validate these invoices, but as they were cut (in less than € 200,000) so as not to pass through his hands, he felt that someone had done the bridge and ultimately had deceived the entire board.
“All is said and there is nothing that can be updated”
The unknown Rousaud, in those days, went from the most remote place on the board to the headlines. There were two circumstances that made him leave anonymity: that he was linked to a kind of riot to resign President Josep Maria Bartomeu and that on the RAC1 station he let go that “someone had put the hand in the box “. “It is true that at the informal board meeting in February there was talk of advancing elections. I never put the president between the sword and the wall, neither to resign nor to advance the elections. It is not true that he we would demand his resignation, “he insists.
He admits that he aligned himself with other executives who thought it was best to advance the election (scheduled for the summer of 2021) in anticipation of the “complicated economic environment” approaching. “We argued that because of the kind of decisions that have to be made, which will be very brave decisions, it was better for them to be approached by a management team with six years in office,” he recalled. “This was my opinion, which was not shared by the president. And I respected that the president saw it the other way around,” said Rousaud, after he was pointed out, along with Jordi Cardoner and Maria Teixidor, as instigator. to remove Bartholomew from the presidency.
When a reporter asked RAC1 on April 10 if “anyone has put their hand in the box,” Rousaud replied, “I honestly think so. If external auditors tell us that these services that have been provided have a market cost of 100,000 euros and we paid a million, here someone has put their hand in the box “.
Two weeks later, after resigning and seeing the dust rise again, Rousaud stressed: “I have a reputation in the business world. I don’t behave that way. Those of us who have left are the people who are aware that there has been an irregularity here to hide this contract from the board, from the whole board. We don’t blame the board, because I didn’t know anything about it. ” “Managers resigned [Emili Rousaud, Enric Tombas, Maria Teixidor, Jordi Calsamiglia, Silvio Elías i Josep Pont] closely linked to the economic dimension of the club. Managers who have no connection to this issue stayed. It was very difficult for us to stay and say that you are on the adjudication committee that had to authorize this contract and someone has hidden it because he has torn up the bills so that he could not see them. “
“There is an adjudication commission in the club that verifies all the contracts that are higher than 200,000 euros. In this commission there are always three directors and it is ensured that the contracts have a lawful object, a market price and that there is no no link with suppliers “. And he recalls asking for explanations when he learned the newspaper reports that the contract had been split: “That’s why I demanded an audit, in an email I sent to all the executives.”
As for the current moment, and after his resignation, Rousaud considers that the club is “at a critical point”, although everything remains waiting to know the result of the audit. Following the tone of the affair, both in the board and in the media, Bartomeu telephoned Rousaud inviting him to leave the board, and he was accompanied by five other members. The dissident group, however, reached nine board members, three of whom backed down.
“It pained me not to wait for the audit report to appear. We would have talked to the president and left in a different way. Responsibilities could have been cleared to satisfaction or not, and in that case we would have left otherwise, but resigning for sure, “he predicted. The businessman believes that Bartomeu “did not want to pass this audit scrutiny with us inside” and after the president’s call, in which he asked him to resign, he thought at first of not doing so until that the report appear.
Asked if the audit will restore its image and that of executives if PriceWhaterhouseCoopers reveals that the contract was torn to avoid board control, and that the price was off the market, Rousaud has limited himself to saying that the club will have to “debug responsibilities” as well as “repay the money to the entity, as we pointed out in one of the points of the letter we sent to the president”. After the commotion, although the club has announced that it will file a lawsuit – “perhaps more information can be provided to clarify everything,” he said – Rousaud insists that he would have liked to handle this mess differently. , because he admits that he may have been indirectly affected by his enthusiasm for running for president.
“I haven’t lost the illusion of being president of Barça. But I didn’t like the image I projected with the statements I made, because I’m very hardworking and very discreet. Maybe I sinned by inexperience, if I hadn’t been well advised, ”he admits. “I was wrong about the staging, about how the message may have fallen among the partners. And when I saw myself, the image from the outside that I saw wasn’t how I am, because I don’t like stridencies and I’m very discreet. I lost control. It wasn’t the fault of the press. It was my fault. “
“I can never blame the board, because I was inside and we didn’t find out,” added Rousaud, who admitted after what happened: “For an election, I don’t benefit from this image. continuist candidate did not see me, because if I want to change things I can not continue in the board “.
“If I show up, it’s because I have a chance to win. But now I don’t have the image to be. People have told me that Barçagate has helped me because many Catalans have known me. But now I don’t have good brand image and what needs to be done is a redesign, ”he admitted. This is not the first time that Barcelona’s presidency has crossed Rousaud’s mind. In fact, before the 2015 elections he already dealt with a group of friends to make the leap, but after one of the meetings to present his ideas he met Bartomeu, who invited him to join. in his candidacy “when Barça had not yet won any title in the 2015 treble”.
“I never meant myself on the board to be president. Until Jordi Cardoner said he didn’t want to run and he proposed to me. And Bartomeu asked me to be the continuist candidate in 2021. What I said was that I would not take a step forward at that time, but I did not deny that I would be excited, “he recalled. “I have not lost this illusion, but in this environment it is difficult. Unfortunately when you make a move to explain something that is the detonating element by which we leave managers, there was a widespread reaction that showed that it was attacking the club. In return, I took that position because, precisely, I love the club, “said Rousaud.