Six Barcelona board members resign as off-field crisis deepens

The off-field crisis at Barcelona deepened on Thursday night with six board members resigning, citing differences with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu (pictured).

Directors Silvio Elias, Josep Pont, Jordi Calsamiglia and Maria Texidor joined vice presidents, Emili Rousaud and Enrique Tombas in handing in their resignations.

The news was broken by Catalan media outlet La Vanguardia and follows a report from El Mundo Deportivo, claiming Bartomeu wanted to reshape the top level of the club ahead of his final year at the helm of the presidency.

Bartomeu is attempting to restructure his board to become united in one direction after a series of fractures have come to light in recent months.

The initial report added that the 57-year-old wants to form a team whose focus and emphasis is on the present-day of the club, rather than focusing long-term – with Bartomeu’s term due to end in 2021.

There have been several controversies at the top of the club in recent months with the report claiming that many professional relationships have been damaged irreversibly.

In February, it emerged Bartomeu had hired company I3 Ventures to attack his ‘opponents’, including Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi, online.

The findings of Barcelona’s involvement with the company were revealed after Barcelona issued a statement denying a report from the Cadena Sera radio station  claiming the club were paying a third party to damage the reputation of others.

It was even suggested by allies that Bartomeu should consider his resignation to allow a continue candidate to step in and continue supporting policies promoted by the current president.

Now it appears certain that several resignations will arrive followed by a series of new appointments.

One of those who has resigned, Emili Rousaud, said in an interview with Marca: “I feel betrayed because the reasons he gave me aren’t real.

“He asked me to resign because I had supposedly leaked information and spoke ill of the players, both are false and there is no proof of this.

“It bothered me that he called me right now. These things are done to the face, not hidden in this matter.

“The board did not know about the matter of social networks and one of the reasons I don’t want to resign now is knowing how this whole social media issue concludes.

“I know he didn’t like the issue with the social media accounts, when bills were hidden to evade the club’s internal controls. He was furious and demanded an external audit. I know that he didn’t like that, but I have always been very loyal to the club.

“I am a little sad, but the important thing is that I am in good health and the family too, so I am not going to complain. I’m fine.”

Tags Josep Maria Bartomeu