Laporta slams Bartomeu for his mishandling and putting the club into €1.35bn debt
In a recent press conference, Barcelona President, Joan Laporta has responded to a letter sent by his predecessor, Josep Maria Bartomeu, blaming him for putting Barcelona in financial jeopardy.
The club is currently enduring one of its worst times financially, due to the mishandling of the previous president. Barcelona are in a heavy debt crisis since the resignation of Bartomeu.
However, both the presidents are playing blame game after Josep Bartomeu sent a letter to Joan Laporta accusing him of not taking immediate action to address the club's financial woes during the coronavirus pandemic.
Incompetency of the Bartomeu Presidency from 2014 to 2020
Josep Maria Bartomeu was appointed Barcelona president in 2014, following the resignation of Sandro Rosell. Since then, Bartomeu has indulged in many tax fraud controversies.
In 2014 Bartomeu was investigated after the signing of Neymar from Santos, along with former president Sandro Rosell. It was said that there was alleged fraud and corruption in the signing of Neymar, “deceptive criminal strategies and behaviors were deployed”.
Bartomeu was called to court to stand trial, however, his further appeal said he will not stand a trial and over the allegations; which was later cleared.
In 2020, Bartomeu resigned prior to his arrest in the Barcagate scandal. Catalan police carried out a search operation in Camp Nou's offices.
Catalan police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, said in a statement the arrests were made as part of "an investigation into alleged crimes related to property and the socio-economic order" that has "been going on for almost a year".
It was also stated that officials were accused of launching a campaign against current and former players who were doubtful of Bartomeu's management.
Later Barcelona released a statement that the operation was carried out with regard to last year’s Barcagate controversy. Payments were made to, hire 13 ventures to cover the image of then-president Josep Bartomeu on social media
Joan Laporta retaliates to Bartmoeu’s letter
Laporta responded to Josep Maria Bartomeu in a recent press conference, saying “Bartomeu's letter is full of lies. It obeys an effort to justify management that is unjustifiable. It is an exercise in despair. We have a salary bill that represents 103% of the club's total income. It represents 20-25% more than our competitors”.
“No one is going to escape from those responsibilities. The economic situation is worrying and the financial situation is dramatic. Barcelona has a net worth of minus €451m (£383m/$531m) and debt of €1.35bn (£1.15bn/$1.59bn)."
Joan Laporta insisted players take pay cuts to register new signings
Laporta in his press conference praised Gerard Pique following his salary cut; so that Barcelona could register their current signings.
"We are happy to have resolved with Pique the issue (of registering new signings)," commented Laporte.
"To reduce salary is very admirable. In Kun's case, it is not yet resolved, but we expect other captains to act like Pique. The squad already reduced salaries due to COVID.
Now we ask for a second effort, the first response is a surprise as nobody likes to lower their salary. But given the situation, they are starting to understand and we trust we can resolve it as soon as possible with captains, then other players."
Joan Laporta on Neymar transfer saga
In his letter, Josep Bartomeu also expressed that, Joan Laporta paid Neymar this summer, which he owed after his four-year legal dispute related to a signing bonus in his world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Although Laporta claimed that Bartomeu is on to be blamed for his misuse of the €222 million deal that was struck with PSG, is the reason for the club's current struggles to reduce their wage bill.
"He tells about Neymar," Laporte added. "He says that we have forgone €16.7m. Another lie, it is not true. And you could remind Bartomeu of the damage that the Neymar case did to the image of Barca. Because it was an infinity of lies.
"When he sold Neymar for 222 million, they had already spent disproportionately. This triggered wages and amortization."