Barca president takes rap for Osasuna match confusion

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell took responsibility on Sunday for the confusion that almost led to his team failing to make their La Liga match away to Osasuna.

The champions had intended to fly to Pamplona on Saturday morning for a game scheduled for 1900 GMT the same day, but the strike by Spanish air traffic controllers grounded their plane.

The afternoon saw Barca claim the match had been postponed until Sunday, only for the Spanish football federation (RFEF) and Osasuna to deny it.

In the confusion, Barca were forced to rush 350 kms by train and coach to Pamplona to avoid forfeiting the match. They arrived just before the scheduled start time and after a 50-minute delay went on to win 3-0 to stay top of the table.

"I have seen and heard commentaries of all types," Rosell said in a letter to club members posted on their website.

"They have criticised our lack of planning, our strategy of communication and have doubted our ability to manage a crisis such as yesterday`s.

"I take all the responsibility for what happened in the hours leading up to Saturday`s game. I managed our dealings with the RFEF....I trusted the RFEF and AENA (the Spanish airport authority). We will draw conclusions for the future."

Osasuna and local media have questioned Barcelona`s attitude and the way they handled the situation. Valencia and Atletico Madrid both travelled on Friday by coach for their respective matches at Real Madrid and Levante (Valencia).

"It`s not right that they accuse our executives, and even our coach and players of not wanting to travel unless it was by plane," Rosell said.

"This is absolutely false, unfair and unacceptable as all the decisions were taken and authorised by me personally."

Late on Saturday, the RFEF admitted they had suggested postponing the match until Sunday but that Osasuna had not agreed and so it had never been made formal.

Bureau Report