Josep Lluís Nuñez i Clemente

FC Barcelona President 1978-2000

Josep Lluís Nuñez was president of FC Barcelona from 1978 to 2000, a total of 22 years, making him the longest serving president of the club and also the one who has celebrated most titles.

He was born in Barakaldo in the Basque province of Vizcaya on September 7th 1931 and his family moved to Barcelona in 1932 at the start of the Second Spanish Republic, when he was just 7 months old.

By the time he stood for elections for the presidency of FC Barcelona on May 6th 1978, he was a successful businessman, having founded the powerful Barcelona construction company Nuñez y Navarro, together with his wife.

However, he had never been a board member and so was a complete unknown to the club members, who were voting in the first fully democratic elections in the history of the club.

His electoral slogan, "Per un Barça triomfant" - "For a triumphant Barça", along with, at 46, his relative youth and ambition convinced the members, gaining him 10,352 votes against the 9,537 of Ferran Ariño and the 6,202 votes for Nicolau Casaus.

Nuñez officially became FC Barcelona president three weeks after the elections on June 1st 1978.


Main Approach

From the beginning his main argument that the membership was the key to financial success of the club.  When Nuñez took over the presidency in 1978 FC Barcelona had 77,905 and by the time he stood down in the year 2000, the club had more than 106,000 members, making it the biggest club in Spain and one of the biggest in the world.

Part of this policy, included the giving encouragement to the penyas or supporters clubs.

In 1978, there were 96 FC Barcelona penyas or supporters clubs, all of which were in Spain, and by 2000, the club had 1,300 spread all over the world.

Nuñez put special emphasis on looking after the penyas, seeing them as ambassadors for the club, and to this day, one of the most important events in the club calendar is the international meeting of penyas.

Another of the Nuñez presidency's achievements was increasing the capacity of Camp Nou to 125,000 and improving the club's facilities, building the Mini Estadi in 1982, opening the Museu del Barça in 1984, increasing the capacity of the Palau Blaugrana to 8,500 and also founding La Masia, the residence for young players, in 1979.

At the end of his term of office, the club purchased the land in Sant Joan Despi where the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper currently stands.

Nuñez was undoubtedly an excellent financial manager but this often brought criticism, particularly when he refused to to increase the salary of star players often causing them to sign for other clubs as was the case of Maradona, Schuster, Luís Milla, Ronaldo and Stoichkov.

In fact, these policies caused coach Johan Cruyff to coin the famous phrase "el dinero debía estar en el campo, no en el banco" - " the money should be on the pitch, not in the bank".

Limited Success in the 1980s

In 1979, a year after Nuñez came into office, FC Barcelona won their first major title, the European Cup Winners' Cup in Basel with a massive turnout of fans.

In 1982, the side, which at the time was managed by Udo Lattek, won its second European Cup Winners Cup by beating Standard de Liege at Camp Nou, which would be one of the main venues of the Spain World Cup later that summer.

Around this time, FC Barcelona reached the figure of 100,000 members, which allowed the board to sign Diego Armando Maradona, who was currently considered the best player in the world in 1982.

The club continued growing and in the 1984-85 season, Nuñez was able to celebrate the first Liga title as president.

However, a year later, the club suffered defeat in the European Cup Final of 1986 held in Seville and this remains one of the most traumatic moments in club history.

In 1988, there was a player rebellion known as the Hesperia Mutiny, which would result in the sacking of virtually the whole first team squad.

Johan Cruyff and the Dream Team

As a result, Nuñez was able to sign former player Johan Cruyff as coach for the following season and over the next couple of seasons what would become the Dream Team began to take shape.

One of the greatest sides in history, the Dream Team won four consective Ligas from 1991 to 1994 as well as FC Barcelona's very first European Cup at Wembley in 1992 before the cycle came to end with defeat in a second European Cup Final at the hands of AC Milan in 1994.

In 1996, disagreements between Cruyff and Nuñez led to the president sacking the coach and taking on Englishman Bobby Robson as a stopgap before the arrival of Louis Van Gaal, who would build the new Barça project.

Van Gaal and the post-Cruyff Transition

With a team led by Brazilian star, Ronaldo, FC Barcelona won the European Cup Winners Cup, the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Supercup.

Van Gaal arrived at the start of the 1997-98 and won two consecutive Ligas and a Copa del Rey but at the same time. Josep Lluís Nuñez began to come in for criticism and a motion of no confidence from a pressure group knowns the Elefant Blau, led by future president, Joan Laporta.

Criticism increased as the success of the Van Gaal project began to falter and the club's centenary in 1999 was something of a disappointment leading Nuñez to decide to stand down as president for the forthcoming elections in 2000.

Titles won under Josep Lluís Nuñez

  • Football: 27 titles

7 Liga : 1984-85, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1997-98 and 1998-99.
6 Copa del Rey: 1980-1981, 1982-1983, 1987-1988, 1989-1990, 1996-1997 and 1997-1998.
2 Copa de la Liga de España : 1983 and 1986.
5 Supercopa de España : 1983, 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1996.
1 Champions League: 1991–92.
4 European Cup Winners' Cup : 1978–79, 1981–82, 1988–89 and 1996–97.
2 European Super Cup : 1992 and 1997.

  • Basketball: 26 titles

10 Liga ACB: 1980-1981, 1982-1983, 1986-1987, 1987-1988, 1988-1989, 1989-1990, 1994-1995, 1995-1996, 1996-1997, 1998-1999.
9 Copa del Rey: 1978-1979, 1979-1980, 1980-1981, 1981-1982, 1982-1983, 1986-1987, 1987-1988, 1990-1991 and 1993-1994.
2 European Cup Winners' Cup: 1984-1985 and 1985-1986.
2 Copa Korać: 1986-1987 and 1998-1999.
1 European Super Cup: 1986-1987.
1 World Clubs Championship: 1984-1985.
1 Supercopa de España : 1987-1988.

  •  Handball: 50 titles        

13 Liga ASOBAL: 1979–1980, 1981–1982, 1985–1986, 1987–1988, 1988–1989, 1989–1990, 1990–1991, 1991–1992, 1995–1996, 1996–1997, 1997–1998, 1998–1999 and 1999–2000.
10 Copa del Rey: 1982–1983, 1983–1984, 1984–1985, 1987–1988, 1989–1990, 1992–1993, 1993–1994, 1996–1997, 1997–1998 and 1999–2000.
9 Supercopa de España: 1986-1987, 1988–1989, 1989–1990, 1990–1991, 1991–1992, 1993-1994, 1996-1997, 1997-1998 and 1999-2000.
3 Copa Asobal: 1994-1995, 1995–1996 and 1999–2000.
6 European Cup: 1990–1991, 1995–1996, 1996-1997, 1997–1998, 1998–1999 and 1999–2000.
5 European Cup Winners' Cup: 1983–1984, 1984-1985, 1985–1986, 1993–1994 and 1994–1995.
4 European Super Cup: 1996-1997, 1997–1998, 1998–1999 and 1999–2000.

  •  Roller Hockey: 37 titles       

10 OK Liga: 1978-1979, 1979-1980, 1980-1981, 1981-1982, 1983-1984, 1984-1985, 1995-1996, 1997-1998, 1998-1999 and 1999–2000.
7 Copa del Rey: 1978–1979, 1980–1981, 1984–1985, 1985–1986, 1986–1987, 1993–1994 and 1999–2000.
9 European Cup: 1978-1979, 1979-1980, 1980-1981, 1981-1982, 1982-1983, 1983-1984, 1984-1985, 1996-1997 y 1999-2000.
1 European Cup Winners' Cup: 1986-1987.
8 European Super Cup: 1979-1980, 1980-1981, 1981-1982, 1982-1983, 1983-1984, 1984-1985, 1996-1997 y 1999-2000.
1 Intercontinental Cup: 1997-1998.
1 Copa Ibérica: 1999-2000.

Corruption Scandal

On July 28th 2011, Josep Lluís Nuñez i Clemente was condemned to 6 years in prison along with his son, Josep Lluís Nuñez i Navarro, and to pay a fine of 2 million euros for bribery and another 36,000 for falsification of documents in the Caso Hacienda.

On November 16th 2014, Nuñez finally entered into the Quatre Camins prison in La Roca del Vallès with the sentence reduced to 2 years and 2 months and 1.5 million euros.

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