Barcelona board gave marketing contract to company involved in financing campaign

Barcelona President Joan Laporta and his board are under scrutiny again for the handling of the bank guarantee that allowed them to enter the club, and contracts that Barcelona gave out.

As per El Periodico, the investigation being carried out into Barcelona as a result of Caso Negreira has thrown up a concerning series of movements. ISL Futbol Limited Liability Company, a sports marketing firm from the United States, sent a bank transfer to an account in Spain to the tune of €350k, which was in the name of all the original board members that President Laporta entered with following his election.

This money was then allegedly used for their bank guarantee, with a board required to guarantee 15% of the club’s budget as part of La Liga regulations, which in Barcelona’s case was €124.7m in 2021. ISL LLC have claimed that it was a loan, but it is yet to be paid back, unlike several other financiers of the bank guarantee.

Just six months after, with Laporta and his board now in situ, ISL LLC were awarded a contract by Barcelona to organise and market part of their US preseason tour at the time, with games against Real Madrid and Juventus in the summer of 2022.  The company denies that the contract to organise those games was related to their loan.

ISL LLC, who are headed by two Catalan businessmen in Alex Isern and Marc Segarra, have been working with Barcelona for nine years, first beginning the relationship in 2015, under the presidency of Josep Maria Bartomeu. They helped organise the first of Barcelona’s summer camps in the US in Raleigh, Charlotte, Richmond, Cincinnati and Louisville. The continue to do so, and have 35 different locations.

Meanwhile the Spanish tax Authority are also investigating the bank guarantee for other reasons. There is suspicion that more than half of the guarantee was provided by people who were not members of the board, which is not permitted, and would potentially bring about a re-election if that is found to be the case. El Periodico say that they suspect that Jaume Roures’ Orpheus Media company provided a line of credit to the tune of €30m, while Jose Elias, Head of Energy Company Audax, guaranteed €40m.

Clearly, Barcelona’s board are yet to be found guilty of any wrongdoing, but it casts yet more scrutiny on their financial management, which is already being questioned. Former rival candidate for the Presidency Victor Font told (Catalunya Radio via Diario AS) that it was further evidence of irresponsible management.

“There is evidence of a club supplier paying a guarantee that the board should be paying, according to a newspaper today. It would be one more management irregularity. There is no effective control mechanism. The one who governs does so without thinking about the members. These are the tips of the iceberg that can be seen. If it is true, it is a very serious irregularity.”

“In the club now there are only friends and family of Laporta. They have all left. The people who make the main decisions are Laporta’s former brother-in-law, who has no position but is in all the decisions, Deco, a friend of the former brother-in-law, Yuste, a good person, and Laporta, who can love the club as much as he wants. but it is not a coach. The Laporta of before knew how to delegate, he had [Johan] Cruyff and Txiki [Begiristain] as advisors…, It has nothing to do with the one of now.”

Tags Barcelona Jaume Roures Joan Laporta Jose Elias

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