Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu has today launched a passionate defence of the club’s La Masia academy and the way it operates.
The Catalan giants’ youth set-up has been found guilty of breaching FIFA rules regarding the transfers of foreign young players and the club have now been banned from signing players until the summer of 2015.
The 51-year-old however says Barca have done nothing wrong and believes that there are evils working from the outside trying to inflict damage on the Camp Nou side.
“It’s strange that they make a tough decision about us but that they only communicate it to us four months later,” Bartomeu said at a Press-conference today.
“Anyone can interpret that however they want.
“I want to make it clear that here at Barca we agree with FIFA’s policy of protecting youngsters.
“In Barca you will always find a club which defends its own values. Barca is a club with an academy, La Masia. We are a club of excellence and an example to other clubs.
“I want to say to all our partners and members that we are outraged. They are punishing something that has been a model for 35 years and they are punishing the essence of our club, something that has been a role model and has worked with FIFA.
“Xavi, Iniesta, Messi…We take care of youngsters and their development. Maybe in some of our foreign players' own countries they can’t get this kind of treatment.
“Our youth intake is comprised of 230 boys from 18 different countries. 40 of them are not Spanish. Of those 40, 18 of them live in La Masia, where there is a total of 80 inhabitants.
“We are not going to rethink our idyllic strategy, we will defend all our junior players.
“What we think is that someone on the outside is trying to do damage to Barca. We are investigating that. We remember cases like the accusations of doping we had, the accusations of a player not paying taxes, etcetera.
“Once we have proof of who it is, we will not be scared to look for these people. Everything is subject to an investigation. We are sure about what happened.
“Here we do things very well and there is someone who wants to damage us. It will all come out.
“We are looking over the validity of some documents and we will see who is behind all of this. We will fight for La Masia.
“We have been suffering a lot recently. Once we have proof of who is behind it, we will show everyone.”
When asked to clarify who he suspects is responsible, Bartomeu refused to deny it was Real Madrid.
“Is it Real Madrid? I cannot say who it is and who it isn’t, we are investigating it. There are documents to be looked at and once they have been we will act with all our might.
“We have information and documentation, so once we have done the investigation the guilty names will emerge.”