For months, Barcelona’s board of directors have been sparring over an alleged relationship with a third party, I3 Ventures, which sought to discredit players, club legends, and even presidential candidates.
President Josep Maria Bartomeu denied any allegations, calling for the removal of multiple top officials in order to “strengthen his office”. Additionally, a source told ESPN that numerous board members were unhappy that Bartomeu didn’t sack Ernesto Valverde earlier, when they had asked him to.
Thursday, Vice Presidents Emili Rousaud and Enrique Tombas handed in their resignations. Directors Silvio Elias, Josep Pont, Jordi Calsamiglia and Maria Texidor had already resigned.
The attempt to discredit board members is partially due to the upcoming board elections.
An internal source stated on Wednesday that life behind the scenes at Camp Nou is like the television drama “Game of Thrones,” explaining that everyone is vying to position themselves ahead of next summer’s presidential elections.
It was for this reason that Rousaud came forward saying that “I think someone is robbing the club. We paid 1 million euros for work that has a cost of €100,000. Who was it? I don’t know who it was, but you can imagine…”. He also said that Barcelona and I3 Ventures entered into an agreement meant to improve Bartomeu’s image ahead of the board elections.
So what now?
Assuming the six ex-members move on, the whole thing will be over. However, in a statement released Wednesday, Bartomeu stated, “In the light of the serious and unfounded accusations made by Mr. Emili Rousaud… FC Barcelona categorically denies any activity that can be described as corruption, therefore, reserves the right to any legal action that may correspond”.
If guilty, Rousaud can face up to five years of prison.