As the fallout from the shock departure of Lionel Messi from Barcelona continues, former presidential candidate, Victor Font, has fired a dig at Joan Laporta over his handling of the situation.
Font went head-to-head against Laporta in the presidential elections earlier this year, but it was the latter who prevailed, returning for his second stint in the role.
One of the biggest concerns for Laporta, when he took over, was stabilising the financial situation at Barcelona while ensuring that Messi, who was in the final few months of his contract at the time, would renew and stay put at Camp Nou.
Laporta, at every step of the way, seemed to assure fans that things were under control with regard to the six-time Ballon d’Or’s contract, until Barcelona dropped a bombshell on Thursday night that a renewal would not be possible because of the club’s finances and La Liga’s FFP rules.
In a press conference on Friday, Laporta explained that Barcelona could not go ahead with the renewal because there was just no margin left on the club’s wage bill, while also elaborating on the club’s thought process behind not using the CVC proposal to tie down Messi to a new deal.
Lack of Transparency?
Font, now, has fired a shot at the incumbent Barcelona president, calling him and the club out for a lack of transparency. As quoted by SPORT, he said: “Very disappointed because we expected much more from Joan Laporta in these five months in office.
“What has been done during all this time? What has happened to Barça Corporate? Why is the Tebas and CVC plan rejected and yet the Super League embraced when they are two practically identical projects, an injection of capital? Things are not explained, there is a total lack of transparency.”
Font then went on to add that the partners who voted for Laporta over him will be feeling cheated by this development while claiming that nostalgia does not always ensure the desired results.
“During the electoral campaign, they believed that Laporta would be able to reverse the situation because he said that he had the experience of what he had done in 2003. It has been proven that voting for nostalgia does not solve things.”
Font questions board’s lack of planning
Font criticised the board for not having a plan to resolve the measures properly and hit out at those who had pointed fingers at him during the elections. “What was needed was to have an established crash plan to provide the solutions that were needed and not run out of time to reverse the situation, as Laporta has recognized in his public intervention to explain the issue of Leo Messi.
“They called us catastrophic and that it was not so bad, when we had a series of shock measures to implement immediately.”
Font also demanded answers from the board as to why there were no proper plans for Messi’s farewell, a sentiment echoed by fellow former presidential candidate Toni Freixa.
“It is very sad that Messi’s relationship with Barça ends with a statement. If what Laporta says is true, why wasn’t Messi invited to be present at the Auditori, like Xavi, Puyol or Luis Suárez and that he could have said goodbye?” he said.
Finally, Font urged that it was important that fans stayed behind the club in these trying times, saying: “Now, in the face of this economic, sports, institutional and moral crisis, Barça fans must be united, and support to get the institution out of this disastrous storm.”