Bartomeu defends himself and accuses Laporta of inaction



Posted Saturday, August 14, 2021 by Marca.com

Bartomeu defends himself and accuses Laporta of inaction

Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has written an open letter to his successor in which he attempts to absolve himself from blame for the club's situation while also hitting out at Joan Laporta's role in it.

The club's dire finances have become public knowledge around the world and have culminated in the loss of Lionel Messi, prompting many to pile further blame on Bartomeu's presidency.

However, the man himself believes that had he been allowed to continue then his planned economic measures would have rendered the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic as almost negligible.

Meanwhile, Bartomeu believes that Laporta has a lot to answer for and should be considering his own lack of action rather than pointing his finger and what he inherited and those who came before him.

"As is known, our Board of Directors planned to call elections on March 21, 2021, within the statutory period at the end of our mandate, which would have allowed us to take on and carry out the settlement of the 2020-21 season accounts, as was our wish, and take the decisions necessary to avoid arriving at the current financial situation," reads part of Bartomeu's open letter.

"We would have been the only ones responsible for the closure [due to the pandemic] and its consequences. Decisions that the new Board has not taken throughout these past months, making clear their inaction."

It is quite a bold claim from Bartomeu, given the legacy he left at Barcelona, that he and his Board had been hiding a magic rabbit in their hat that would have saved the club not only from their own decisions but the pandemic as well.

In his long and detailed letter, the former president does however attempt to give examples. He highlights potential deals that his Board began negotiating but which were abandoned by Laporta and the current Board.

"From April 2020 we began the Barcelona Corporate project, consisting, in summary, of the entry of four strategic partners..." says Bartomeu in his letter.

"If [Laporta's] Board had approved the [Barcelona Corporate] project, it would have meant a capital injection of at least 220 million euros with the aim of reducing the income losses caused by COVID...which in 2020-21 could be 375 million.

"If to those 220 million euros we had added the necessary 20 percent salary reduction (90 million euros) from the players' contracts, essential from March 21, 2021, when the worst expectations were confirmed, the salary ratio dictated by LaLiga would have been complied with, allowing for players to be registered."

That is one of the big punches of the letter - if Bartomeu's predictions are correct, then if things had been done his way, the club essentially could have avoided losing Messi. That's what it comes down to, as Laporta and his allies attempt to blame him for the Argentine's exit.

Bartomeu doesn't stop there, however, and goes on to accuse Laporta of paying Neymar money he wasn't owed this summer.

"Why did you take that decision against the interests of the club?" asks Bartomeu of Laporta's board.

The only certainty here seems to be that the war of words - like Barcelona's problems - is far from over.



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