It has been confirmed that Barcelona’s sporting director Andoni Zubizaretta offered himself as a “sacrificial lamb” following the ban by FIFA in which the Catalan club cannot sign any players for two transfer windows but club president Josep Maria Bartomeu prevented him from doing so.
The punishment was handed out to the club after repeatedly breaching the rules regarding signing of international players under the age of 18 and in light of the FIFA ban, ex goalkeeper Zubizaretta offered to leave the club, but it was turned down.
Bartomeu told Catalunya Radio: “Zubizaretta is a club man. The sporting director is doing a very good job, he helps us make our decisions.”
“On Wednesday, when the sanctions from FIFA arrived, we had a meeting with a group of club chiefs in the afternoon and it is true that Zubizaretta said that if it was a solution then he would go. But his departure wouldn’t solve anything.”
Bartomeu went on: “It is not the right time to talk publicly about why FIFA is criticising us, because the club is in the middle of the season. But we will, although I must say that in our youth football set-up there are many people involved that have done a great job.”
“We will explain to FIFA that sport is something that integrates people and Barca do not only form the players as footballers but also as people.”
“We now have a number of players that cannot play because of FIFA’s criteria. And we have them here because their parents want them to stay here. They are not allowed to compete but they can train.”
“We have to let these young stars play to integrate them into our society. Football is a sport of integration. And not only football, but also different sports where there is no problem for them to play even though their parents cannot be with them.”
We have to agree and are glad that Barcelona’s sporting director is not leaving. Zubizaretta is not at fault and cannot be offered by the club or himself as a sacrificial lamb to appease the powers at be at FIFA.