Barcelona: Former president Josep Maria Bartomeu reportedly arrested

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Former Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has reportedly been arrested.

According to various reports in Spain, Bartomeu was arrested at his home.

His CEO Oscar Grau, legal services director Roman Ponti and Jaume Masferrer, former adviser to the presidency, have also been arrested.

The arrests have been made in relation to the 'Barcagate' case.

Barcelona were accused of having a social media monitoring company to set up fake accounts to protect the reputation of the president as well as attacking some of the opposition and even some of the players.

Barcelona are accused of paying company I3 Ventures a £170,000 fee to target many of Bartomeu'S biggest rivals, including Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola, Xavi and Gerard Pique.

Pique responded by calling the whole situation a "disgrace.

"It's a disgrace the club actually spent money to criticise us," the defender said.

"It’s an atrocity as a Barcelona player to see my club spending money – money they’re now asking for from us – to criticise not just external people with a previous relationship to the club, but players still here."

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In a statement released by Barcelona last year, they said: "FC Barcelona roundly deny any relationship, and furthermore, the contracting of services linked to social media accounts that have broadcast negative or disparaging messages related to any person, entity or organisation that may be, or have been, related to the Club.

“I3 Ventures, a service provider to the Club, has no relationship with the accounts mentioned and, if any relationship was to come to light, the Club would immediately end their contractual agreement and bring about any necessary legal action to defend their interests.

“As such, FC Barcelona confirm that it has services contracted relating to the monitoring of social media with the aim of analysing both positive and negative messages about the organisation itself."

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Bartomeu resigned from Barcelona president in October after being involved in a battle with Messi over his transfer saga. There were intense calls for him to step down after Messi handed in a transfer request, which was rejected by the club.

"I am communicating my resignation from my position of president, along with my entire board of directors," he said.

"This is a thought out and relaxed decision, agreed with all my fellow directors."

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