Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigns
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has resigned under increasing pressure, but said he had accepted proposals for the club to join a European Super League.
Fans had been trying to remove Bartomeu, who became president in 2014 and had fallen out with Lionel Messi.
He stood down on Tuesday, along with the entire board of directors.
In a leaving speech Bartomeu said Barca had begun proceedings to join a Super League to help its financial future.
Last week, BBC Sport reported talks had taken place over the creation of a new £4.6bn European Premier League involving the top sides from across the continent, although discussions are at an early stage.
La Liga president Javier Tebas responded to Bartomeu’s claims by saying it “confirms his ignorance about the football industry”.
Tebas called it a “weak and imaginary competition which would be their ruin”.
Bartomeu was due to step down in March, having served the maximum two terms as president, but was facing a vote of no confidence.
More than 20,000 club members signed a motion to remove him.
Resentment had grown against his leadership over the past year because of worsening finances and Barca’s decline on the pitch and their failure to win a trophy last season.
Bartomeu also fell out with star player Messi in the summer after the Argentina forward handed in a transfer request.
Messi failed to force a move and decided to stay, but said he felt deceived by Bartomeu, adding: “There has been no project or anything for a long time”.
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague
Bartomeu did not want to be the first president to be kicked out by a vote of no confidence. Campaigners needed 66% of votes to get rid of him and estimations were 80% of the vote was against him.
Barcelona won four leagues, four cups and the Treble in 2014-15 while he was president, but another way of looking at his tenure is what he did with the money from the Neymar sale.
Barcelona spent 400m euros on Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele, with no success.
The most dangerous thing is that financially the club is a disaster.
What will happen next is those in charge, first a management committee and then a new president after the elections, will have such a huge job to stop that negative economical dynamic they will have to think of the books. They will have to sell assets including, possibly, players and will not be able to pay the same wages.
Season ticket holders will have to approve a move to join a European Super League but Bartomeu said it guaranteed the income they need to keep the club in the hands of the fans.
Such a league, if it takes off, will not start till 2024 and that still leaves the club in serious financial disarray,
It will take Barcelona a long time to come back from that – four or five years. But the toxic atmosphere that had built around the club because of the Bartomeu presidency will disappear.
At least there will be hope. Messi didn’t want to leave under Bartomeu but let’s see what happens now.
© The Fan Experience Company 2020