The Sí al futur Project
‘Sí al futur’ means ‘Yes to the future’ in Catalan. It is a project that is being led by Victor Font, a technology entrepreneur and now a Presidential candidate. This article will cover everything about Victor Font’s Sí al futur – the implementation, the execution and the aim.
Note: Barcelona/Club Members doesn’t refer to the Board members but people who have applied for a membership (learn more at https://www.fcbarcelona.com/en/socis/fer-se-soci )
About the project
A group of FC Barcelona members (including Victor Font), have come together to collaborate and work on this project, a project that builds the new Barca, a Barcelona without Lionel Messi. The idea of the project is to use the skills of all Barca fans with a clear aim of serving the Barcelona institution and not the leaders. The objective of the project is to change the current model of the Club, and to build a more stable, a newer and a better Barcelona by 2030.
Returning to where it all began: La Masia
The Sí al futur project claims that the most viable method for Barcelona to return to the top, is by returning to its roots – the La Masia academy. La Masia, home to legends like Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez – is Barcelona’s youth academy that shapes promising footballers from a younger a
“They [Real Madrid] buy superstars. We [Barcelona] make them!”Joan laporta
As Joan Laporta once infamously said. In the last few years, Barcelona has kept going further and further away from their once acclaimed transfer policy. The majority of the Bartomeu reign has seen ‘Galactico’ signings like Phillipe Coutinho (140M), who have ironically failed. There is no trust in La Masia stars, and that is exactly what Victor Font pledges to change. He believes that is the La Masia players who know the Barcelona model by heart and they are the ones who are better positioned to lead Barca’s future sporting project.
Xavi Hernandez as Barcelona Manager
Every Culés’ dream. Xavi Hernandez, the next in line after Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff, returning back to Barcelona one day as manager. Well, that day could be here soon. Xavi has begun his managerial career at Al Sadd, and he might not be super far away from the Barcelona job. Xavi claims that he requires at least 2 years of experience before taking the reigns at Barcelona, perfectly alligned with when Victor Font will go into power (if elected)
“I hope Xavi leads our footballing project at Barcelona”victor font
Font is a big admirer of Xavi, and is beyond convinced that he is the right man to lead Barcelona to glory. He knows that Xavi is well aware of Barcelona’s ways and his ideologies will emulate those of Cruyff, if not improve them. Xavi too reciprocates the praises.
On the Catalunya Radio show, ‘El Club de la Mitjanit’, Xavi said, ‘I think he [Font] is well prepared and a good candidate. The socios would do well to keep him in mind in the next elections. I think he’s a very suitable person to lead the ship, this transatlantic that I would say Barça is.”
Xavi has already started his journey to becoming the manager of Barcelona, and it’s a question of ‘if’ but of ‘when’. Xavi and Font at the helm of the Club, can and will most likely lead Barcelona to glory.
Electronic Voting System
Font believes in the use of a software (already programmed and delivered to the Club), which will enable the election of a new president through electronic voting in 2021.
“It is a key tool in the transformation of the management model we promote. It does not make any sense that a club like Barça with 140,000 owners and always linked to democracy should not take into account their opinion except when voting in elections every six years.”victor font
Sí al futur intends to apply the electronic vote in many places. Of course, the elections to the presidency, but also in some symbolic issues, such as the design of the jersey and the badge. Font states that “the commitment to electronic voting does not mean that the board of directors does not govern, but rather that it will listen to the opinion of the Club members (Socis) before making certain decisions”.
Font’s insistence on using electronic vote is in order to allow more people to voice their opinions and to find out what Barça members really want.
A New Governance Model
One of the most important changes Font wishes to implement – a completely new and revamped governance model. Font is proposing a governance that is based on an advisory board formed of specialists.
“It is no longer sufficient for a large endowment to be managed among a group of friends and acquaintances, instead we need to constuct an advisory board that is replete with competent individuals who are skilled and have experience in the sporting industry”victor font
Font’s idea is to have a separate board of advisors, consisting of the Barcelona members, who advise, suggest and give their opinions on different situations so that the club can formulate good solutions for different issues. This is opposed to the current, traditional model where the Barcelona board makes all the key decisions without any input from the Barcelona members.
The concept is a voting system that would focus on the key decisions for the club and not merely on day-to-day activities.
Font’s goal is to allow the Barcelona members to be heavily involved in the important decisions of the club.
A New Business Model
Probably the most innovtive idea Font has.
“No one has the magic formula… yet”victor font
In the summer of 2018, Antoine Griezmann rejected a move to Barcelona, and Gerard Pique made a documentary on it. Font thought that it was an extremely creative idea.
Font feels Barca have wasted the “best-ever generation of footballers” by failing to lead the way with similar, insightful content during the last decade.
Font believes that content is extremely powerful, and creative, innovative and imaginative content can be used to generate a lot of revenue for the club.
“A club can make creative content, and then people around the world would be ready to pay €5 per year, on a subscription-based model, for that exclusive content. It’s about being proactive, taking some initiative and seeing how you can benefit the club. This is the type of innovation which technology allows you to do. What has exponential growth potential is going directly to the consumer because you have 400 or 500 million fans around the world. If you sell €5 a year [to each of them], that’s €2.5 billion in revenue per year, only from the fans.”
So to sum up, Font’s masterplan is to continue using the traditional business model while also using Entertainment and Media, which are both extremely powerful, and game-changing tools.
Més Que un Club
Who better to lead the club, than the Barcelona legends who would die for the club. Font understands that – figures like Victor Valdes, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, etc. – are people who know Barcelona in and out, know what the fans demand, know the tradition and culture at the heart of the club. They are the people who truly care about the club, who want to see it succeed – not for their financial gain.
Our Best Shot
Life without Messi is going to be difficult, it’s going to be hard. The loss of the greatest player in football history, and arguably the most iconic – is going to hurt Barcelona in a sporting way, a political way and an economical way. On top of that, the club has been in a lot of debt recently due to the excessive amount of loans the current board has taken, so the financial stability of the club isn’t completely assured right now.
The post-Messi era is going to happen, it is inevitable. This will be the biggest challenge Barcelona will ever have to face – nobody knows what will happen, but Victor Font is most probably the best chance we have of getting through the change and setting up a new dynasty, maybe a better one.
Riqui Puig will fight for his place, but the message sent with him is discouraging
While Ronald Koeman has other options in mind, Riqui Puig has decided to stay at Barcelona for another year. Still, the message sent by the club and coach is disappointing for the youngsters.
The thing about the circus is that it never ceases to surprise you. You barely have time to reflect on what you have seen before the next bizarre and astonishing thing is demanding your attention. And that’s exactly how it feels at Barcelona at the moment.
Although the morality of both have come into question in recent years, it is the succession of absurd events which Barcelona appears determined to mimic. Barely had the dust settled on a historic motion of no confidence against the board, plunging the entire direction of the club into doubt again, when journalist Gerard Romero of RAC1 reported that Ronald Koeman had told Riqui Puig that he should look for an exit. On rolled the circus.
Twitter meltdowns have become something of a specialty subject for culés in recent years and this was the latest episode – yet this time the journalists seemed almost unanimous in their distaste too. An overreaction? Even prospective presidential candidate Víctor Font felt compelled to react to the news – “another example of why it is imperative this club has a new project as soon as possible”. The consistency of opinion indicates it is not.
Koeman would later water down his own words claiming that he suggested thee young Riqui Puig seek a loan, rather than leave outright. “He has a future here” caveated the Dutchman, but not an immediate one apparently. Twitter reaction, press criticism and the words of an opposition candidate are all predisposed to condemn an under-pressure board and manager. Yet this decision is so baffling that even the most single-minded Grupo Godó journalist would struggle to defend it. To discard Barcelona’s brightest prospect, alongside Ansu Fati, just makes no sense.
“It’s not true that [Riqui Puig] is not in our plans. I spoke to him yesterday. I speak to the young players – they have to play. They can’t not be playing. Him, [Carles] Aleñá, Pedri…I have told them that it’s difficult for them and there’s lots of competition. Nothing more. I have told [Riqui Puig] that he has a future here, but it depends on the player. I would recommend that he went out on loan. At 20 years of age, the young players have to play. They can’t get stuck for a period of time”Ronald Koeman, after leaving Riqui Puig out of the squad for Saturday’s Trofeu Joan Gamper against elche
Of course, Koeman is right. The competition in his positions will be ferocious this season. In a squad which has so often found itself on its knees by April, handicapped by a lack of depth, Koeman has an abundance of midfielders. The 4–2–3–1 formation appears non-negotiable in an attempt to extract the best of Frenkie de Jong. Miralem Pjanić, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Carles Aleñá will compete for the place alongside him. The mediapunta contest further ahead includes Barcelona’s most expensive player ever, their third most expensive player ever and one or two more.
On what basis Koeman is so certain that Puig wouldn’t even come second in either of these contests demands some explanation. Despite Puig’s smooth performance in the first friendly against Gimnàstic de Tarragona alongside De Jong. Despite him playing the mediapunta role so successfully against Atlético de Madrid last season.
Koeman’s great virtue was supposed to be that he would impose a meritocracy once more, that reputations were no longer important. Yet he appears to be continuing the recent Barcelona tradition of distrusting its own academy products. Following a policy which would have left football without its current best right-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold, or Koeman’s own favourite jewel, De Jong.
Riqui Puig brings virtues that are sorely lacking in this squad too, which was evident in the improvements last season whenever he played. Hunger, aggression, mobility and tempo – an obsessive desire for a hulking physical presence in midfield makes sense to a degree, yet nobody has demonstrated these qualities more than the minute man from Matadepera. For a club that so recently said goodbye to Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta, to doubt him due to his supposed lack of defensive capabilities bends the mind beyond comprehension. It also ignores the fact that what he does on it, he does better than anyone else.
It wasn’t just that he looked at home in the first team when called upon, he stood out. His manipulation of the ball and the opposition in tandem suddenly changed the rhythm of games for Barcelona, the increase in speed also parallel to the increase in threat. Because of his supreme understanding of space, teammates began making runs again and, consequently, the pitch increased in size as Barcelona were once again capable of using all of it.
Aggression isn’t purely a defensive trait either. The blaugrana squad is one of the most experienced in Europe but also one of the most risk-averse. Scared of their own weaknesses off the ball, as a general rule, only Lionel Messi attempted dangerous passes last season. The result was that Barcelona were far less dangerous for the opposition too. What Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati brought last season was a fundamental belief in themselves as footballers rather than just aides to Messi, taking on responsibilities neglected by their seniors time and again.
Riqui Puig has impressed whenever given the chance | Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce via Getty Images
Last season the young midfielder was held up as a sign of all that was wrong at the club. Virtuoso performances for the B-team were ignored in favour of a labouring midfield by Ernesto Valverde. The excuse for his omission was that he was untested at that level. Quique Setién did facilitate his introduction into the first team and duly employed him to great effect in the final stages of the season. Finally, it appeared he had broken the glass ceiling, he had definitively shown his value to the first team.
This made the non-selection of Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati in the Champions League, where Barcelona seemingly had little to lose, so maddening for fans. Whatever they did have to lose, they lost all the same against Bayern Munich. Any excuse for not starting Riqui Puig or Ansu Fati was obliterated that night – and yet Koeman, without any tangible reason, has decided to trust seven or eight others but not Barcelona’s best midfielder after lockdown.
It’s true that positionally the 4–2–3–1 doesn’t lend itself as kindly to Puig, but this argument has not been presented about others, who equally haven’t played in it before.
Beyond what Barcelona would miss on the pitch though, what makes Koeman’s decision so fundamentally problematic is what it signals off it. Barcelona’s largest problem has never been the lack of quality players – far less talented sides have achieved far more. The quintessential change that Koeman needed to make was a cultural one. By loaning Riqui Puig out, this would only pick up from where Valverde and Setién left off, compromising the team in order to select the senior players.
One of the few reasons for optimism in a dejected Can Barça this season was Riqui Puig. Firmly extinguished by Koeman when it seemed there could be no doubt he would feature heavily, if not start. On the pitch, Puig is one of Barcelona’s best midfielders based on last campaign’s evidence. Symbolically, he is the face of the rejuvenation that Barcelona desperately need, in terms of style and profile. It is worth asking the question: if a Barcelona manager that can’t trust Riqui Puig right now, should they be trusted with the Barcelona job?