FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu announced at a press conference on Tuesday evening that he and the entire club management committee were resigning.
"I appear today to communicate to you my resignation and that of the rest of the management committee. It is a considered decision, calm, joint and approved by all my collaborators."
This is what FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Tuesday evening at a press conference.
The end of a long soap opera, marked in particular by the conflict between the president and star Lionel Messi.
Targeted by a motion of censure, Bartomeu abandoned the football club in the midst of a sports and budgetary crisis, in an atmosphere of the end of his reign.
Days of uncertainty ...
Three days after the Clasico de Liga lost 3-1 to Real Madrid on Saturday in an empty Camp Nou, Bartomeu gave in to the pressure ... while he said on Monday that he had "no reason to resign".
However, it ended up happening, putting an end to six years of presidency for this former right-hand man of President Sandro Rosell (2010-2014), who had succeeded at short notice to his former mentor targeted by Spanish justice.
After days of uncertainty, against a backdrop of disagreements on the date and organization of the vote on the motion of censure endorsed by thousands of "socios" (supporters-shareholders), Bartomeu and his management committee decided to submit their resignation, qualifying the posture of their opponents as "irresponsible" and that of the Catalan regional government as "incomprehensible".
A transitional management commission, with limited powers, will now have to manage the organization of the new elections within three months of its creation.
... and months of a deleterious situation
Bartomeu thus puts an end to a deleterious situation that has lasted since January 2020, with the defeat in the semifinals of the Spanish Supercup then the dismissal in the wake of the coach Ernesto Valverde, which began the slow fall of the illustrious FC Barcelona.
Already in February, Bartomeu's image was greatly tarnished: the president then denied being at the origin of a campaign of slander targeting club figures on social networks and whose goal was to improve his image.
Cadena Ser radio shows, however, that Barça paid one million euros in six separate invoices to the company I3 Ventures to manipulate public opinion on social networks.
The "socios" are scandalized.
In April, six members of the board of directors resigned, against the backdrop of disagreements over Bartomeu's management method.
And the new coronavirus pandemic does not interrupt the crisis of the Barça institution.
In a club already in debt, the health crisis led to new losses estimated at 200 million euros.
Barça separates during the summer from some big salaries in the locker room: Arthur, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal, Luis Suarez ... And the club asks for salary efforts from the rest of the workforce.
But the decisive blow will come in August: Bartomeu finds himself terribly weakened after a catastrophic first half of 2020 and then a historic 8-2 rout against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in Lisbon.
Bisbilles with Messi
A few days later, thunderclap: Messi, emblematic captain and legend of Camp Nou, announces to the club that he wishes to leave.
Bartomeu refuses and forces him to stay under the terms of his contract, until the summer of 2021, by giving the Argentine an ultimatum: if Messi publicly says that his problem is Bartomeu, then he will resign.
Messi will never admit it publicly, and will change his mind.
But the public opinion is aligned with a large majority behind "La Pulga", which openly criticizes its leaders in a resounding interview: "There is no project, nothing. They are only juggling and filling holes as they go. and as things happen. "
The height, for Bartomeu, will be to see Barça begin to rebuild thanks to the seeds that he himself planted, coach Ronald Koeman and young prodigy Ansu Fati (18 years old on October 31) in the lead.