Barcelona in crisis after six directors resign in protest at way club is run

SteveJ

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'Barcelona’s crisis has deepened after six board members resigned, including two vice-presidents and the man the president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, had identified as his successor.

In a collective letter deposited with a notary, they cited their inability to change the way the club is being managed and called for presidential elections at the earliest opportunity.

On Tuesday Bartomeu had tried to encourage the vice-presidents Emili Rousaud and Enrique Tombas and directors Silvio Elias and Josep Pont to resign as he sought to move against those who criticised his handling of Barcelona but he had not expected them to be joined by Jordi Calsamiglia and Maria Teixidor, the secretary of the board.

A letter signed by the six on Thursday night was published by the newspaper La Vanguardia, and Teixidor informed Bartomeu of the decision by telephone. Rousaud had been made a vice-president only at the start of January as Bartomeu sought to put a succession plan into place.

Bartomeu is not obliged to call elections until 2021, when he will not be able to stand, but some board members – among them those who have resigned – had asked him to bring that date forward.

According to the club’s statutes, Bartomeu can continue in the presidency because the number of those resigning is below 50% of the board. Those statutes also say there must be at least 14 board members and the six resignations have reduced that to 13. It is possible further resignations may follow as the crisis deepens.'

Relationships had been strained for some time and tensions had been brought to the surface particularly by Bartomeu’s handling of the pay cuts imposed on the players, which had prompted Lionel Messi and the club captains to openly criticise the club.

Equally damaging had been claims that Barcelona had paid the company I3 Ventures to set up online accounts that allegedly wrote stories defending the president and damaging the image of some players and former players. It is claimed the service was paid for in three instalments, allegedly to avoid it being detected by internal financial controls. The letter from the six directors called for the investigation into “Barcagate”, carried out by Price Waterhouse Cooper, to be concluded, and if appropriate for action to be taken and money returned.

Barcelona have issued a statement denying wrongdoing and Bartomeu has described the allegations as “completely false”. I3 has also denied wrongdoing.

Rousaud and Tombas join Susana Monje, Javier Faus, Carles Villarrubí, Manuel Aroyo and Jordi Mestre as vice-presidents who have resigned under Bartomeu, who is both president and vice-president. Eleven of 21 board members have resigned and of the vice-presidents who began with him in 2015 only one remains.

(Guardian)
 

Goku23

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Its about time the big 2 Spanish teams were brought down a peg or 2 same dominance year after year
 

11101

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They're supposed to be planning for life after Messi. He's 32 and surely won't go beyond another 2 or 3 years. They can't still be infighting at this stage.

I've thought this for a while now, when he goes, Barcelona's collapse is going to make our post SAF years look like a walk in the park.
 

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Random Task

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Rousaud and Tombas join Susana Monje, Javier Faus, Carles Villarrubí, Manuel Aroyo and Jordi Mestre as vice-presidents who have resigned under Bartomeu, who is both president and vice-president. Eleven of 21 board members have resigned and of the vice-presidents who began with him in 2015 only one remains.
One reporter rather brazenly asked Mr. Bartomeu why nobody seems to like him, to which he replied, "cos I'm better than everyone else. They're well jel' innit".
 

Gopher Brown

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Interestingly none of them criticised the scattergun transfer policy they have had for the last few years
 

Sandikan

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They're supposed to be planning for life after Messi. He's 32 and surely won't go beyond another 2 or 3 years. They can't still be infighting at this stage.

I've thought this for a while now, when he goes, Barcelona's collapse is going to make our post SAF years look like a walk in the park.
Could see them dropping to like...2nd in the league.
 

Cloud7

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Is it me or does Barcelona seem to be in 'crisis' every 9 months or so?
 

SteveJ

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MaxiPaxi

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It's cause they've agreed that Carole fecking Baskin is going to feed her current husband to Luis Suarez.
 

edcunited1878

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They still have quality on the pitch with all this politicking and posturing going on a director level. Their transfer business recently has been poor but still have good young players like de Jong, Fati, Melo...but as said, not sure what the plan is after Messi (and Suarez) goes. Neymar keeps being touted but that isnt enough. Dembele makes Bailly and Jones look fit.
 

pastyfool

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They can’t possibly be a poorly run club. They have a Director of Football.
They probably need a Chief Evangelist Director of Global Football. A football club can never be too top heavy.
They could also try walking out onto the pitch to a classic Ibiza anthem. I hear that works.
 

Infordin

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Thank god that we are rich.

I think that our peak came at the perfect time. Barca was the best club from 2005-2015. Over the course of these 10 years, we won more trophies than anyone else and played the best football. The size of our fanbase absolutely exploded around this time. We've also had some global icons playing for us (Messi, Ronaldinho, Neymar) which only increases exposure.

The board are morons, but our popularity and money is saving us right now.
 

Prometheus

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Thank god that we are rich.

I think that our peak came at the perfect time. Barca was the best club from 2005-2015. Over the course of these 10 years, we won more trophies than anyone else and played the best football. The size of our fanbase absolutely exploded around this time. We've also had some global icons playing for us (Messi, Ronaldinho, Neymar) which only increases exposure.

The board are morons, but our popularity and money is saving us right now.
Most insecure fans in the world.
 

Mb194dc

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Also theft claims by a former vice president:

https://www.espn.com/soccer/barcelo...vice-president-who-claimed-high-ranking-theft

Barcelona sold their soul, was just watching old Chelsea / Barcelona games, forgot they didn't even have a shirt sponsor until recently.

They built their great teams with a base of players from La Masia. Seem to have totally abandoned that now.

The club has been consumed by greed and seemingly recreating an even worse version of the galacticos, some of the worst value transfers in history especially Coutinho! Plus the most embarrassing defeats in last couple of years champions league away games.

President needs to go, I think Pep will go back in year or two once he does and sort the mess out.
 

Wedge

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Thank god that we are rich.

I think that our peak came at the perfect time. Barca was the best club from 2005-2015. Over the course of these 10 years, we won more trophies than anyone else and played the best football. The size of our fanbase absolutely exploded around this time. We've also had some global icons playing for us (Messi, Ronaldinho, Neymar) which only increases exposure.

The board are morons, but our popularity and money is saving us right now.
Isn't your wage structure crippling and don't you make barely any profit?.
 

Infordin

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Isn't your wage structure crippling and don't you make barely any profit?.
I don't know mate.

We seem to be making enough profit to spend over €100m mindlessly on players that don't suit us, like Coutinho, Dembele and Griezmann.

The rise of Barcelona (2005-2015) coincided with the rise of social media, that has helped us become a financial juggernaut.
 

2cents

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Barcelona are not in decline. Madrid are used to playing Barcelona. Obviously they've lost their coach etc and that will effect them. When Sir Alex said he would retired first time round we were shockingly bad for a large period. They're not in decline. They are still the team to beat inspite of Madrids recent form.
 
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Barcelona are not in decline. Madrid are used to playing Barcelona. Obviously they've lost their coach etc and that will effect them. When Sir Alex said he would retired first time round we were shockingly bad for a large period. They're not in decline. They are still the team to beat inspite of Madrids recent form.
Neither of them are particularly good at the moment. As some former player said, "Any time I watch Barca or Real play I become convinced the other will win the league." Anyways, neither has looked even close to the best team on the continent on this season's form.
 
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2cents

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Barcelona are not in decline. Madrid are used to playing Barcelona. Obviously they've lost their coach etc and that will effect them. When Sir Alex said he would retired first time round we were shockingly bad for a large period. They're not in decline. They are still the team to beat inspite of Madrids recent form.
 

dev1l

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This is from a Barca fan forum:
http://www.barcaforum.com/showthrea...ces/page67?s=d8914d616a9d2d79245b0f076bc66b38

Barca is the top sporting brand in the world,? Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu proudly told a group of distinguished Catalan politicians and businessmen on February 12. ?We?ve had our difficult moments. But this year our revenues will pass the ?1 billion mark. Great work has been done by all.?

Six weeks later, on March 26, the world?s wealthiest sporting institution humbly applied to use a Spanish government scheme for enforcing emergency pay-cuts and lay-offs, after all sporting and business activities ceased due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This shocked the club?s roughly 1,500 ?ordinary? employees, from youth coaches, scouts and physios, through to staff at the club?s museum, restaurants and retail outlets.

But few expected the angriest reaction to come from Barca?s best-paid staff member, with first-team captain Lionel Messi issuing an angry statement via his own Instagram account criticising not the measure itself, but the way it had been sold through the local media.

Upset that Catalan sports papers had been claiming Barca?s ?captains? had been selfishly rejecting any pay-cuts, Messi voiced his ?surprise that inside the club there would be people who want to pressure us into doing something we were always clear we wanted to do?.

The kicker was that Messi said he and his team-mates were going to dip into their own pockets to ensure ?that all the club?s employees can earn 100% of their salaries for as long as this situation lasts?.

That effectively reversed the board?s decision to enforce pay-cuts and removed control of the club?s policies from Bartomeu and his board in this most difficult moment.

So how did the richest team in football get to the point where its own players were bailing out the directors?

Answering that question requires a trip back through the often complex finances and relationship between the Camp Nou?s boardroom and dressing room.

Back in summer 2008, around the time Messi was just beginning to establish himself as world class, Barca was a very different club. A fourth contract renewal in three years saw the forward replace departing team-mate Ronaldinho as the team?s best-paid member, a few weeks after his 21st birthday. Annual club revenues totalled ?279 million, with player wages totalling ?160 million, far healthier than the 70% ratio used by many within the game as a yardstick for sustainability.

Two years later, Messi was world football?s biggest earner on ?9.2 million a year, before bonuses, while bumper contracts also persuaded peers including Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta to stay at home as Pep Guardiola?s team swept all before them, including an historic treble of Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey trophies.

Barca had been spending outside their means, however, and when Joan Laporta left as president in 2010, the club?s net debts were revealed as ?379 million. Successor Sandro Rosell loudly made sorting out the finances a key objective. New economic vice-president Javier Faus, a very successful private equity investor by trade, led an ?austerity? project. One cost-cutting measure was banning colour photocopying at all Camp Nou offices.

As you can see below, revenues rose sharply, helped by innovations such as the controversial sponsorship agreement with Qatar. Total expenditure levelled off for a couple of years, as did spending on player salaries, even after new high-earner Neymar arrived from Santos in 2013.

barcelona-messi-money

?When we took control, the president mandated that we professionalise the club,? Faus said in October 2013. New measures included adding a club statute (Article 67) mandating that the leadership must resign if debts were twice EBITDA (earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortisation) in two successive years.

Words like ?austerity? and ?sustainability? impressed readers of the annual club accounts. But the players began to chafe against what they saw as unfair restraints on their pay. A petty legal case taken by Rosell and then vice-president Bartomeu against their previous colleague Laporta also damaged their relationships with Guardiola, Xavi and Messi, who had remained close to their former boss.

A storm was coming and it broke in December 2013. Amid familiar local media stories of Jorge Messi requesting another significant pay-bump for his son, Faus complained in a radio interview that there was no need to offer pay-rises to their No 10 ?every six months?.

Messi did not often speak in public at that point, but he responded almost immediately: ?Mister Faus knows nothing about football and wants to run Barca like a business, which it is not. Barca is the best team in the world and deserves the best directors.?

Faus? faux-pas signalled his end at the club and, the following June, Messi agreed a new deal roughly doubling his wages to ?39.5 million gross per season.

Messi surely felt he was worth the money, especially as nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo was earning something similar at Real Madrid. And the Argentine?s fame and exploits also clearly helped Barca?s revenues rise dramatically year after year. A problem, though, was that his rocketing annual wage provided an elevated ceiling up to which everyone else could negotiate.

Summer 2014 also saw Luis Suarez join Messi and Neymar in attack. The next season saw the team win another treble. That year?s accounts included payments to players and staff rising by over ?88 million and the club?s debts increasing for the first time since Laporta left.

?The money is out on the pitch,? Faus? replacement Susana Monje explained at the club?s AGM in October 2015.

When Monje left citing personal reasons the following year, Bartomeu took on the economic VP?s duties as well. The trope ?Bartomeu takes the reins? became a favourite of local headline writers, especially for stories around new contracts or transfers. Some saw this as strong leadership from the top, others as the players being allowed to bypass the club?s various levels of negotiating expertise.

A rotating door of different sporting and technical directors, especially after Andoni Zubizarreta was fired in January 2015, also cleared a direct path from the dressing room to the president?s door.

Sergio Busquets spent much of 2016 hinting publicly that he might join Guardiola at City if Bartomeu broke a promise to significantly raise his salary. ?I hope the president keeps his word,? Busquets said that February. Talks dragged on before the midfielder eventually signed a new deal that September, worth a reported ?12.3 million a year.

Contract talks with Iniesta, now coming towards the end of his career, dragged through 2017. In June, the midfielder, usually exceedingly polite, emphatically denied a claim by Bartomeu that an agreement had already been reached. That October he did sign a new deal, but senior players had learned that publicly confronting Bartomeu could secure a salary ?update?, and Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba were among others to follow suit.

It also became public knowledge that the players had jokingly nicknamed the president ?Nobita?, after a bespectacled 10-year-old character in Japanese children?s show ?Doraemon?. Bartomeu took it in good humour, telling Barca TV that ?I suppose I look rather like him?. The president also added, ?At Barca, we have a Doraemon in Messi, who can resolve all our difficult situations. And if there?s a Doraemon, there must be a Nobita, too.?

bartomeu-barcelona

Amid all the fun and games, Barca?s 2017-18 accounts saw football salaries rise from ?342 million to ?457 million. The announcement came just as Messi leveraged new apparent interest from Guardiola?s City into a deal worth more than ?70 million per year, helping him become the world?s best-paid athlete.

All this saw Barca also become the highest-paying team in any global sport, with each player making an average of over ?10.4 million per season, per Sporting Intelligence?s 2018 Global Sports Salaries Survey. They still have that No 1 ranking, although the average amount dipped slightly last year to ?9,827,644, with Madrid second on ?8.9m, Juventus third, followed mostly by NBA teams until the first Premier League side ? Manchester City (13th, at ?7 million).

Many Barca fans and pundits thought this just made sense as they had the world?s best player in their squad. Bartomeu and his fellow directors were unruffled as the club?s revenues continued to rocket, too. Net debts were also slowly falling, even after the 2018 confirmation of a ?572 million remodelling of the Camp Nou.

Last January, the club?s website happily headlined a story ?Barca tops Deloitte?s Football Money League for the first time?. Soon afterwards, Bartomeu boasted of the ?1 billion turnover to the Catalan industrialists. That seems a long time ago now.

Last week, Bartomeu had to deny that Barca would have been in danger of declaring bankruptcy within three months if the emergency pay-cuts had not been implemented.

?Up to February we had a faster pace of income than expected, the fastest in history,? he told Radio Catalunya. ?Now it has all just stopped, which is why we are making these cuts. If we had done nothing before June, we would not have gone bankrupt. But there would have been losses.?

The tone was much more sober than before, understandably. Some sympathy is possible as nobody could have foreseen all football and most of society shutting down so abruptly. Also, while Barca were the first La Liga club to publicly announce pay-cuts, on Friday the league itself asked all Spain?s professional teams to follow suit.

But it is not as if there were no previous signs of financial stresses at the Camp Nou. While revenues and costs have raced each other towards the historic billion mark, the board have been scrambling each season to make ends meet. Last summer they had to borrow the entire ?105 million to pay Antoine Griezmann?s release clause, while failed attempts to offload high earners like Ivan Rakitic further ruffled dressing-room feathers.

Barca?s 2019-20 budget needs ?109 million income from player trading to balance the books. Should this summer?s transfer window not open as planned, there will be a huge hole in this year?s accounts. Which brings back Faus? famous Article 67, and the threat of the entire board having to resign should debts mount too far.

Meanwhile the current crisis hit just after Messi?s Instagram dressing-down of sporting director Eric Abidal, who had publicly blamed the players for January?s decision to fire Ernesto Valverde as coach. A phrase from that post ? ?I think everyone has to take responsibility for their own duties and the decisions they take? ? was clearly not just aimed at Abidal.

All this has led to a situation where the club has little money and its players have lots. Bartomeu and his fellow directors have lost control. Messi is now all-powerful at the Camp Nou. Even the kitman and security guards directly count on his generosity for their monthly pay-cheques.

We are also approaching the usual time when Messi?s contract needs an ?update?. And everyone at the Camp Nou knows that his current deal includes a clause allowing him to unilaterally leave this June, when he turns 33. This has led to fears, not just among fans, that he could really move on, considering how sour everything has turned through recent months.

However, it is impossible to imagine that Messi, having taken the whole club on his shoulders, could now just up and leave. More likely is that Barca?s senior players try to use their current leverage to bring about deep structural changes in how the club is run.

Which brings us back to that famous 2013 argument. Faus? view of Barca as a business which must follow the usual accounting rules has not survived these current extraordinary circumstances. Messi?s response that Barca deserves the best directors remains truer than ever.
 

amolbhatia50k

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Just seems to me that the owner has basically run the ship terribly and is effectively riding on the back of Messi's brilliance and a dominant era, to claim he's doing a good job, whereas the underlying indicators suggest a club that's heading in the wrong direction with individuals papering over the cracks.
 

dev1l

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Just seems to me that the owner has basically run the ship terribly and is effectively riding on the back of Messi's brilliance and a dominant era, to claim he's doing a good job, whereas the underlying indicators suggest a club that's heading in the wrong direction with individuals papering over the cracks.
That's my impression too.. Seems that players over there have too much power.
They need to start thinking about life after Messi.
 

cyberman

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Their finances looked fecked to me. They took control of selling their own shirts which looked good on the rich lists but in terms of profit after costs it doesnt add much.
Now with the global recession that will kick them in the ass. That Adidas guarentee isnt there