If it wasn’t before, then it’s certainly all out war now at Barcelona, after current president, Joan Laporta, called a press conference to answer the points made by his predecessor, Josep Maria Bartomeu, in a letter which the latter had made public.
No doubt designed to discredit Laporta, Bartomeu made various accusations, but the former dismissed all of them as lies.
In one particularly robust rebuttal, Laporta answered one question over a 20-minute period, dismantling Bartomeu’s arguments point by point.
It’s clear that the club are in a very unhealthy position indeed, however, Laporta believes he is the man to take the club forward.
“This press conference is called because I want to put several situations into context and to explain what we have found when we arrived at the club,” he was quoted as saying by Football Espana.
“The salary policy that we stumbled upon from the previous board is wrong, it’s what the experts call the inverted pyramid, where veterans have long contracts and young players have short ones, and that makes it very difficult to renegotiate contracts.
“We have a salary bill that represents 103% of the club’s total income. The previous board had someone to discover talents in South America. He charged €8m, an inappropriate amount. Barcelona have a negative net worth of €451m. The sports payroll is €617m, between 25% and 30% more than our competitors.
If that weren’t enough to rile Bartomeu, Laporta went in even harder, questioning almost every aspect of his presidency.
Amounts of contracts were up for rebuttal, as was the need to make certain payments. Not to mention that the club’s debt is now at a record level.
“I received the letter from Bartomeu and I see it full of lies. With an effort to justify a management that is unjustifiable. Nor do I share the numbers that Bartomeu is talking about. We absolutely disagree. They are responsible until March 17th, 2021.,” Laporta added.
“No one will escape their responsibilities. As of today, the debt is €1.35bn. The economic and patrimonial situation is very worrying and the financial situation is dramatic. In Bartomeu’s letter he spoke of another €90m salary cut planned. The truth is that the players didn’t even want to talk to him.
“We have not forgiven Neymar €16m. Another lie. What we think is that the best thing was for the two parties to reach an agreement. The sports policy has been disastrous under the previous management. They received €222m for Neymar and they spend it at the speed of light and disproportionately. Now we find ourselves with skyrocketing salaries and amortisations.
“We will look for solutions to clear responsibilities. The situation is dramatic, but we have good news. The strategic plan based on our credibility and experience, on the assets that Barcelona have, makes this situation temporary. The club will always be owned by its members.
“My morale is very high, and even more after seeing the team yesterday, I am convinced that the decisions that should be taken have been made, as in the case of Leo, a sad but necessary decision. If we are all united, the new era that begins will be very successful. The players are committed on and off the pitch. They are very motivated.
“We have eternal gratitude to Messi, it has been a love story and a relationship of many years that has been very successful that sadly has come to an end. It is the law of life. Seeing Messi at PSG gave me very contradictory feelings. I would have preferred to see him at Barcelona, but the club is above everyone.”