Economic bankruptcy, moral decay - Barca presidential candidate Font lambasts club

By Dom Farrell 13 April 2020 5
Economic bankruptcy, moral decay - Barca presidential candidate Font lambasts club

Barcelona are in danger of economic bankruptcy and moral decay, according to presidential candidate Victor Font.

In an open letter to Barca members and the media, Font – the leader of the Si al futur group seeking to take control of the Camp Nou boardroom - offered a scathing assessment of the current behind-the-scenes turmoil at the LaLiga champions.

The unvarnished criticism arrives at the end of a turbulent week, with six of Josep Maria Bartomeu's board resigning from their posts.

Outgoing vice-president Emili Rousaud then made the explosive claim that "someone had the hand in the till" at the club – an accusation strongly rebuffed by Barcelona.

Rousaud also suggested possible impropriety regarding Barca's alleged agreement with 13 Ventures, a PR company claimed by a report on Spanish radio programme Que t'hi jugues in Feburary to have been hired to clean up Bartomeu's image on social media and disparage current and former players critical of his regime.

Both Barcelona and 13 Ventures denied the allegations but that episode, along with the controversial signing of Neymar in 2013, were both referenced by Font in his critique.

The letter read: "For some time now the project Si al futur has been warning Barca members that the club was heading towards the 'perfect storm' – it had to replace the best generation of footballers in history, build and finance the Espai Barca development project and compete against corporations with almost unlimited financial resources.

"And all this had to be done while preserving the ownership of the club in the hands of the members and its competitive capacity both in football and in all sections.

"If the risks were great, they have now become gigantic. We are in the midst of a pandemic that has brought the planet to a halt and will have effects in all walks of life, also in sport, that today we cannot yet foresee.

"Likewise, for months we have witnessed a shameful escalation of chapters in the club's institutional behaviour in which the latest event hides the seriousness of the previous one, a process that culminated in recent days with accusations and serious reproaches among board members, and six abrupt resignations.

"And just as the only priority should be to get the club out of the crisis, the presidency announces a new remodelling of the board of directors in order to stay in power. What is at risk now is Barca as a whole.

"This is not a recent problem – we have experienced the sentencing of the club in the Neymar case, the disagreements made public between employees and players with executives and managers, and the audit of the case on social networks, which seems will confirm the scandal.

"Let's add an erratic sports policy, the breaking up of the board of directors and the significant reduction in income due to the pandemic, and the result is the danger of economic bankruptcy and moral decay in which the club has settled. Game over."

Font reiterated his assertion from earlier this month that Si al futur had put themselves at Bartomeu's disposal to assist during the COVID-19 crisis and build a "common front", only to be frustrated in those efforts.

Before laying out his group's vision, Font made three demands of the Barca board - transparency over the club's level of debt; delays to making non-essential structural decisions at this time, including Espai Barca; and "maximum prudence and transparency" on player purchases and sales.

Bartomeu is not obliged to call elections until 2021, when he will not be able to stand, although there is a growing demand for him to bring the date forward.

The Barca president's standing has been weakened over recent months over apparent clashes with Lionel Messi over the star player's future at the club and the handling of pay cuts given to the squad in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Dom Farrell

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