Former Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu will go down as one of, if not the, worst President in the club’s history. Yet somehow he hung onto the job for a remarkable seven years.
Part of that was down to the fact Barcelona had an enormously successful generation of players on the pitch, whose success clouded issues with the Presidency. However it has transpired that part of it was due to the distorsion of information.
According to EFE (via Goal), the investigation into Barcagate has found that Bartomeu paid various journalists for good press coverage for himself, while attacking his rivals such as current President Joan Laporta or candidate Victor Font. This had been suspected for some time, with Marcal Llorente in particular being called out by Gerard Pique for his allegedly paid opinions. According to the report, Bartomeu even falsified invoices in order to send payment to these journalists via covert means.
Goal go on to detail that Barcelona continue to have publicity agreements with various elements of the Spanish and Catalan media. In particular, RAC1, El Periodico, La Vanguardia, Sport and MD all have deals with the club, which are not paid for with money, but rather services such as tickets to matches. In terms of monetary value, the top end of these services is around €95k to RAC1.
It is certainly a murky environment where the supposedly independent media are being paid by Barcelona for a manner of services. This makes it very difficult for the public to discern the truth from the narrative. As has been shown with Bartomeu, better media coverage can cover a number of errors.
Misleading with your headline. You could have easily put his name or at least “Former Barcelona President”. Given the world we live in where people don’t read the actual article, you guys should learn to do better