The board of Barcelona was behind critical posts of defender Gerard Pique’s ownership of lower league club FC Andorra, reports El Periodic.
Yesterday, Diario Sport said how Pique and the other three Barcelona captains met the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu after reports that the club supremo had hired company I3 Ventures to attack his ‘opponents’, including Pique and Lionel Messi, online.
This fresh report outlines that Pique’s ownership of FC Andorra was criticised by a number of online posts by the third party, which can now be traced back to the top of Barcelona.
Among the online attacks were that of FC Andorra being promoted – courtesy of Pique’s wealth, rather than an on-pitch ascension – to Segunda B to replace crisis-stricken Reus.
Pique deposited the €452,022 fee for his club to be promoted into the third level of Spanish football to replace Reus, who had been automatically demoted from the second flight midway through last season due to their financial woes.
The findings of Barcelona’s involvement with the company were revealed on Monday night, after Barcelona issued a statement denying a report from the radio station earlier in the day claiming the club were paying a third party to damage the reputation of others.
The Catalan club strenuously denied any truth in the initial report, saying that they had neither paid nor promoted anyone to denounce or attack others – who have been opponents to the current board in some form at some point – online.
It was claimed by the Cadena Ser report that the reason for the Blaugrana paying companies to promote these messages were firstly to improve the image of current president Josep Maria Bartomeu (pictured) and devalue the opinions of his opponents.
It was claimed that Barcelona paid the company I3 Ventures to promote their own messages both on Twitter and Facebook, with the report claiming they had access to the transactions.
Barca explained that their relationship with I3 involved “monitoring of social media with the aim of analysing both positive and negative messages about the organisation itself.”
The report claims Bartomeu handed the four captains a dossier in a meeting on Tuesday with all the messages and confirmed that he broke relations with the company, making it clear that the club had not at any time entrusted the company with any derogatory comments.