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Six Barcelona Directors Quit

Pressure mounts on Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu
Camp Nou view

Six Barcelona directors have quit the Spanish La Liga champions. It is the latest turmoil within the club hierarchy with supporters and players including Lionel Messi increasingly voicing their frustration.

The world’s richest club's reported annual revenues last year were 841 million euros according to Deloitte. However, they been hit hard by decreasing revenues due to the coronavirus crisis. 

There have also been online controversies and protests in the final matches before football was suspended in Spain. Spain has suffered one of the worst outbreaks of the COVID-19 disease in the world, with more than 15,000 deaths and more than 150,000 infections.

Barcelona Criticised

The departing directors criticised Barcelona’s handling of a social media scandal and voiced doubts about the board’s ability to navigate their way through the COVID-19 crisis which led to players including all-time top scorer Lionel Messi taking a 70% pay cut.

Two of the club’s four vice presidents, Emili Rousaud and Enrique Tombas, announced their resignations in a letter to fans published in Spanish media on Friday. Directors Silvio Elias, Josep Pont, Jordi Calsamiglia and Maria Texidor also resigned.

Part of the letter reads: “We have arrived at this point because we cannot reverse the way the club is managed in the face of important challenges in the future, especially in the post-pandemic era.” 

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has been asked to call presidential elections. Bartomeu has been Barcelona’s president since 2014 but cannot serve more than two terms.

An election must be held by the summer of 2021.

The club’s hiring of I3 Ventures to monitor Barcelona’s social media has also been criticised. Bartomeu denied accusations I3 Ventures created social media accounts to tarnish future presidential candidates alongside former and current players.

Bartomeu still decided to cancel the club’s contract with the company who denied any wrongdoing.

Barcelona Respond

Barcelona responded in a statement, saying the resignations were due to reorganising the boardroom.

“This restructuring is designed so the board can see through the final spell of its mandate with maximum strength, so it can implement necessary measures to prepare the club for the future and overcome the consequences of the health crisis,” it said.

The club denied accusations that I3 Ventures was overpaid.
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