Barcelona boss Quique Setien has said he and his squad have all accepted club president’s Josep Maria Bartomeu’s explanation behind social media posts.
This week saw a host of allegations against the club’s board come to light, with El Periodic saying they were behind critical posts of defender Gerard Pique’s ownership of lower league club FC Andorra.
On Tuesday, 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.
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.
“Of course we have all accepted what he [Bartomeu] said,” Setien told his pre-match press conference on Friday, as cited by Marca.
“He has explained the same things to us that he had said in other places. I will not be speaking about this anymore and neither will the captains, the issue is over.
“We all must focus on the football and this is a distraction, so we need to get rid of it.
“I never worry about these types of things, the explanation is there and this is over.”
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.