After six board members resigned on Thursday, pressure mounts on Bartomeu’s shoulders as the institutional crisis at Barcelona deepens.
During quarantine and with the halt of all sporting activities, football fans could be expecting silence rather than noise these days. However, culés are already used to continuous noise with their board. Who needs Netflix when you’ve got Bartomeu? The latest episode of this drama show, or comedy show, as one no longer knows whether to laugh or cry, occurred on Thursday. Six Barcelona board members resigned, as was first published by La Vanguardia yesterday afternoon. Earlier in the week president Josep Maria Bartomeu had dismissed two of the club’s vice presidents, Emili Rousaud and Enrique Tombas, as well as directors Silvio Elías and Josep Pont. However, due to the poor manners from Bartomeu and a series of shocking and disreputable events, two more directors, Jordi Calsamiglia and Maria Texidor, surprisingly announced their resignation too. The letter signed by the six mentioned board members read:
“We hereby want to communicate that we have transferred to President Bartomeu our decision to irrevocably resign from our position as directives of FC Barcelona. We have reached this point by not being able to revert the forms of the club’s management regarding the important challenges of the future and the new post-pandemic scenario”
“We must also highlight our disenchantment with the unfortunate episode on social networks, known as Barça Gate, which we learned about through the press”
“As a last service to our club, we recommend that as soon as circumstances allow it, to convene new elections that allow, with all the ‘authority’, to manage the club in the best possible way in the face of the important challenges of the immediate future”
Later, in an interview with RAC1, Emili Rousaud has claimed that three more directives are considering resigning too. A departure en bloc that portrays the chaos and lack of cohesion inside the board, and which leaves Bartomeu alone. From 19 until this week, the number of board members has dropped to 13 now, and it remains to be seen whether this figure will get even more reduced. According to the rules, the Barcelona board must consist of at least 14 members, meaning that Bartomeu must appoint someone urgently.
❛ Bartomeu told me he wanted to remodel the board and that there was distrust with a number of directors, one of them being me. There were leaks to the press that annoyed the players and he felt I had criticised the work of other executives. I understand that the president is looking for another profile of director, but he could have waited three of four weeks to do it. I don’t like how he’s done it ❜
on Tuesday after Bartomeu announced him his dismissal
Still, the pressure is suffocating for the president. After the Barça Gate, the scandal in which the company I3 Ventures was hired to cleanse the image of Bartomeu and to attack players and opposition, yesterday’s news were the last straw. Moreover, Rousaud has even let go that someone could be stealing money inside the club, in the last bit of controversy for Barcelona. “I think someone is robbing the club. We paid 1 million euros for a work that has a cost of 100,000€. Who was it? I don’t know who it was, but you can imagine…”, Emili expressed.
❛ It does not cease to surprise us that from inside the club there would be people that want to put us under a magnifying glass or try to pressure us into something that we were always clear we wanted to do ❜
The elections are planned for the summer of 2021, but Bartomeu has lost the support from players, a large portion of the fanbase and even some of his allies. Only local newspapers SPORT and Mundo Deportivo, who even had to change today’s front cover to hide the scandal, seem to be backing Josep Maria now. Bartomeu is alone. After the latest institutional crisis at Barcelona, fans and board members are already asking for him to be the next to reign and call early elections.
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La Liga chief Javier Tebas talks summer transfers and fan return to stadiums
In a conference held by ADEA Forum (Association of managers and executives of Aragon) in Zaragoza, Javier Tebas spoke on a wide range of topics surrounding La Liga.
Mostly, the La Liga president spoke regarding the league’s bounce back from the pandemic and some potential plans for the league to restore public crowds. He also discussed the losses incurred, the summer transfers, among other things.
The Condition of La Liga
Tebas started the conference by claiming that the situation for the Spanish league is comparatively better than other leagues.
Speaking on this, he said, “The situation is worrying, but not so much. I think that of this pandemic the Spanish League is the one that is going to turn out less badly compared to the others.”
He then spoke about the losses incurred in Spanish football, with the net loss amounting to €1 billion by the 30th of September.
On the losses, Tebas said, “Of this billion, 750 have been financed by banks or investment funds, the latter the majority based in London, and the rest have been done by the clubs pulling their cash.”
Additionally, he mentioned that it was big clubs that were affected stronger than the smaller clubs, due to the huge loss of income from the lack of crowds, among other profitable economic activities that clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona enjoy above others.
A return for crowds to stadiums
When speaking on a return of crowds to stadiums, the La Liga chief seemed tremendously confident in their ability to host crowds as early as tomorrow. He claimed that they would have to run at between 20% to 30% capacity; nonetheless, the Spaniard was confident that teams would be more than capable of hosting crowds very soon.
Speaking on the same, he said, “There is a working group for the return [of fans] to the stadiums. I hope that in the last league games we can see the public in a proportional amount.”
Upcoming transfer window
Speaking on the summer transfer window, the president claimed that there will indeed be a lower amount of transfers as there were in the previous window. Tebas said, “They have already been lower in winter. There may be occasional and exceptional operations, but globally it will decrease. There will be exchanges of players. It’s going to be lower than last year.”
Accordingly, clubs are going to have to dig into their academy reserves more and more as the global and financial situations amend over time.