Football

Barcelona president resigns amid Neymar transfer storm

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Rosell (left), and Josep Maria Bartomeu, who will take charge of the club until 2016 (©GettyImages)
Rosell (left), and Josep Maria Bartomeu, who will take charge of the club until 2016 (©GettyImages).

On Thursday evening, Barcelona president Sandro Rosell spectacularly resigned as president of Barcelona.

The decision to step down has come only a day after Spanish judge Pablo Ruz declared that a case was to be opened against Rosell regarding the alleged misappropriation of 40 million euros from the transfer of Neymar from Santos in the summer.

Speaking to the gathered press, Rosell addressed the room: “Good afternoon to everybody. Nearly four years ago, in the club’s presidential elections, thousands of members turned out to vote with the excitement of choosing how the club should be run and who should run it.

"It was an unforgettable day for me, a fiesta of democracy. In these four years we’ve suffered for being Barcelonistas...”

Moving on to explain his explicit reason for stepping down, he said: “The last few days have seen a case filed against me at the High Court.

"I’ve said that Neymar’s signing is correct and it’s made our rivals jealous. I don’t want unfair attacks [on the club] and for that reason my time here has finished and I have presented my resignation.

Josep María Bartomeu will be president until the end of the term in 2016. It’s been an honour to
serve the Barcelonistas. I give sincere thanks to the players of the club and I am grateful to the board. Visca el Barça and Visca Catalunya."

On Wednesday morning, Rosell called an urgent meeting with his closest aides, including Josep Maria Bartomeu who will now take over as president until the current mandate ends in 2016.

Although it seems those at the meeting advised Rosell to remain in his post until the end of the mandate; personal threats, unfair criticism over the Neymar deal, and the unwanted
attention which this court case will undoubtedly bring upon the club has heavily influenced his decision to resign with immediate effect.

The court case itself stems from the confusion surrounding the actual amount of money Barcelona has paid in the transfer, and more importantly, whom the money has been paid to.

Barcelona have always maintained that the deal to bring Neymar to Catalunya cost 57 million euros. However, Santos have insisted that they were only paid 17 million euros. So the question is, where is the outstanding 40 million euros?

This very question was posed to Rosell by club members, as well as by Santos, who were concerned at being paid far too little in the deal.

After being continually rebuffed in their attempts both in person and via letters, club member Jordi Cases lodged his case with the courts for the transfer to be fully investigated in order to discover the real costs, through a maze of allegedly falsified contracts.

Rosell still gave nothing away in his final press conference, telling the media: “The rights of a club member to know has to be balanced with the need to protect the club.”

Barcelona currently sit at the top of La Liga, along with Atletico Madrid. The club has organised another press conference for Friday afternoon, which will seek to further clarify these recent events.

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Topics:
La Liga
Barcelona
Neymar
Football
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