Last year, former club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his administration were found guilty of running campaigns against current and former players of the club.
This infamous undertaking of the former board, also called the Barcagate scandal, was carried out in collaboration with I3 Ventures, which carried out these planned campaigns using social media.
Ibanez, the owner of I3 ntures is currently facing trial on corruption charges. Goal has reported statements made by Ibanez that provide some more insight into the issue.
During his trial, the owner of the technology company said that the specific campaigns run against individuals like Pep Guardiola and Joan Laporta had nothing to do with the prestige of the club, but was protecting the side from harm.
Ibanez went on to add, “All the people you mention attacked Barca and what we did was try to control the damage. We had to protect the institution from harm. If someone says that [former coach Ernesto] Valverde has to go because Guardiola is a soccer star, what one of these channels does is show that Pep Guardiola has not won any championship for three seasons.”
“Does that discredit Guardiola? No. This is a reality, it is a fact. If you don’t win championships, you don’t win championships. Do not attack Valverde, who is part of our institution, saying that Guardiola is going to be the saviour when he does not win championships.”
The Barcagate episode will be a black-stain in the history of the club for decades to come. No reason could possibly justify the horrendous plans and actions of the previous board or I3 V. That said, claiming that the plan was to protect the club is beyond shameless.