by Tim Stannard
Former Barca VP accuses someone within Barcelona of having "hand in the cash register"
In FIFA's annual handing out of awards, there really does need to be a prize given to Barcelona CF for services to soccer over the past week. Well. The past four months really.
It's all been tremendously entertaining for those who are not fans of the club, or the players stuck in the middle. And all this at a time when actual sport has been grounded.
When Barcelona's suits heard that board games were a good way to pass the time during a near-global lockdown, they took that phrase to another level.
The latest week in a truly wacky institutional period for Barcelona began when club president, Josep Bartomeu, requested the resignation of four board members including VP Emili Rousaud, members that he felt were working in opposition to him.
It was mission accomplished and then some for Bartomeu.
On Thursday night, those four and two others all resigned on masse with a sniffy joint letter declaring regret that they were not "able to reverse the criteria and forms of management of the club."
The Barcelona club board has now shrunk from 19 down to 13, and there could be even more resignations today to put pressure on an increasingly isolated figure in Bartomeu, who is not due to stand in elections for the Barcelona presidency until 2021, but could be forced to bring them forward.
There was further hullabaloo when Rousaud spoke to Catalan radio on Thursday night with the accusation that there was financial impropriety at the club over payments made to '13 Ventures' - a social media company that allegedly ran accounts which worked against opponents of the club and even some of the players in a scandal now branded as Barca-gate.
"Someone had their hand in the cash register" claimed Rousaud, "when you pay a million for something that is worth a hundred thousand."
Barcelona have subsequently issued a statement denying the accusations of corruption from Emili Rousaud
📋 FC Barcelona statement https://t.co/70Vcg4Lyrs— FC Barcelona (from 🏠) (@FCBarcelona) April 10, 2020
This is just the latest in a series of board and Bartomeu bunglings since the beginning of the year.
The fumbled firing of Ernesto Valverde and hiring of Quique Setien.
Sporting Director, Eric Abidal, blaming the players for the firing of Valverde for not trying hard enough.
The panic-buying of a striker, Martin Braithwaite, outside of the transfer window.
Suggestions from within the club that Barcelona's players were refusing to take pay cuts in response to the COVID-19 stoppage to cause the wrath of Lionel Messi and so on and so on.
The bad news for Barcelona supporters is that this dirty linen will continue to be aired. The good news for everyone else is that it has become a new spectator sport when all others are so hard to come by.
UFC shuts down Fight Island as Bundesliga plans return
Time for a bit of Cancellation Corner and UFC 249 has been postponed despite clearly watertight plans from Dana White to stage on an isolated "Fight Island" somewhere in the world. The orders came from on high at Disney and ESPN.
While White claims that UFC will be the first sport back after the lockdown, he might be beaten by the Germans with the German Football League chief executive, Christian Seifert, announcing that there was a plan to restart the Bundesliga in May, behind closed doors.
Also musing a restart is the English Football League, the tiers below the Premier League, which told clubs to tell players that there would be no training allowed until at least 16th May ahead of possible restart in June and a very condensed end to the season.
The Sports Burst PM show at 7PM ET will bring you all the latest from England with our correspondent, Matt Critchley.