Former Barcelona vice-president Emili Rousaud has issued some strong words in the wake of his resignation from the Camp Nou board, stating that he believes someone has been using club funds to line their own pockets.
Rousaud was one of six members of the Barca board to hand in their resignations on Thursday, with Enrique Tombas, Silvio Elias, Maria Teixidor, Josep Pont and Jordi Clasamiglia all announcing their decision to step down in a strongly-worded letter aimed at Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The directors called into the question the leadership of the club as it plans for life both during and after the coronavirus crisis, the economic impact of which will affect every football club across the globe.
The statement reads: “We hereby want to communicate that the undersigned managers have transferred to President Bartomeu our decision to irrevocably resign from our position as managers of FC Barcelona.
“We have reached this point by not being able to reverse the criteria and forms of management of the club in the face of the important challenges of the future and, especially, from the new post-pandemic scenario. We must also highlight our disenchantment with the unfortunate episode on social networks, known as 'Barcagate', which we learned about through the press.”
The social media issue in particular was of great concern to Rousaud, who believes that beyond the obvious bad press the "dirty" scandal has brought to the club, an unnamed individual or individuals has been using the Blaugrana's treasury for their own benefit.
Asked if he feels someone has had their hand in club funds, Rousaud told RAC1: “Sincerely, I think so. Who was it? I don't think it was someone from the board. I don't know who it was, but I can speculate.
“When you pay a million euros for something worth 100,000 euros, that could bring benefit to someone inside or outside the club. I don't think it's someone on the board but if there's a discrepancy then it means someone is benefiting in an illicit way.
“With 'SocialMediaGate', we have three problems. The first is understanding whether the social media networks are being used to destroy others' reputations – I don't think that is the case.
“Secondly, is the €3 million paid for those services market price? And third, it's unquestionable that the payments have been made in stages [to circumvent the board]. The issue is the fragmentation of the invoices. After the audit, we couldn't look the other way.
“The president's offer to step down came when the report was about the drop. It's suspicious. The president knows what he puts in the audit and that's one of the factors that concerns us.”