By Saul Garcia.
Another week and another scandal involving Barcelona, the board and its players.
This time it comes in the form of allegations. Six members of Barcelona’s executive board have resigned amid an ongoing controversy regarding a company hired by the club that made negative comments on social media about some of the team’s own players.
While Barcelona dispute the claims and say it is “an attempt to face the challenge of the final phase of the mandate” of club president Josep Bartomeu.
It is clear the club is in free fall, from player issues regarding wage cuts being made unilaterally, to this and Bartomeu’s relative incompetence in dealing with the issues of player and manager recruitment. It is clear something has to change. Add the lack of cash flow, which stems from the club being over €800m in debt. The problems are serious.
That is even before mentioning the tax issues the club is still involved in regarding the Neymar deal made many moons ago. A trial which could result in massive fines and even jail time for members of Barcelona’s board, including Bartomeu.
Focusing on the latest falling out with the board, it seems the allegations are that they hired fake social media accounts to discredit opposition figures, and even some players, when they expressed views that went against the club. Players and managers were targeted, from Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique, to Pep Guardiola. No one was safe.
As if that were not enough, it leads right into claims of corruption from one of the members towards others on the board. Following his resignation from the board, Emili Rousaud said he suspected that there may have been financial misdeed involved in the payment of I3 Ventures.
The club meanwhile says it will do a thorough investigation. It added that the resignation of the board members was part of a “reorganization” of the club officials carried out by Bartomeu.
A couple of things can be gleaned from all of this.
Firstly, Barcelona is in serious trouble at a leadership level. It seems fairly clear that Bartomeu is out of his depth and pair that with misfiring on the field with transfers and missing out on his top two candidates for the head coach spot and you have a recipe for disaster. A disaster Messi can only do so much about and why the rumours of his exit pop up every couple months.
Secondly, financially speaking, asking players to take these massive cuts is all fine and well so long as it goes to workers of the club.
The issue will be later if/when the transfer window opens and they spend €100m on Lautaro Martinez. The cognitive dissonance there is mind-boggling and all Barca fans should hold the board accountable.
It is why I believe a full revitalisation is needed. With Xavi looking to run for president of the club soon, it could be the perfect reset for Barcelona to return to glorious times.
We’ll have to wait and see.