A vote of no confidence was to be held in Barcelona against the club management, specifically President Josep Maria Bartomeu. The regional government of Catalonia accepted the vote even in the midst of the corona crisis. Bartomeu and the entire club board lifted the switch. Prosecuting the administration provided an excellent excuse for resignation.
In the end, however, it was a matter of the Bartomeu-led government losing its face in one of the world’s largest clubs.
FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are exceptional clubs because they are owned by their members.
The chair, voted by members, feels like a romantic and enviable system in contemporary football. In reality, a successful businessman always takes the lead, gaining power in the company of a mega-class.
In the case of Barcelona, one may wonder whether it has made it even more frosty in the 2010s.
Bartomeu’s predecessor, Sandro Rosell, resigned from the chairman’s ball in 2014. The acquisition of Brass star Neymar was subject to major uncertainties, with ex-club Santos reportedly receiving a transfer fee of less than € 20 million instead of more than € 50 million.
FC Barcelona suffered a loss of image and Rosell had to face its tax and financial charges in court. Prior to his resignation, he had already significantly changed his club culture by entering into a lucrative deal with Qatar Airways.
The story continues after the picture.
Bartomeu, who was already on the board at the time, came to power in early 2014.
Ex-striker Luis Enrique coached the team to win the Champions League at the end of the 2015 season, but since then, the Euro-success has toured Catalonia.
Barcelona has sought quick profits in the transfer market. The peak was experienced in the summer of 2017, when the Parisian PSG attracted Neymar with its money and paid a buy-out clause of just over 200 million euros.
FC Barcelona spent the money on Ousmane Dembélé and Philippe Coutinho. The former has already been doomed to a huge flop. Coutinho seems to have reached a new level this season under Ronald Koeman, but there is no question of any super acquisition.
Antoine Griezmann, Malcom, Yerry Mina, Aleix Vidal, Junior Firpo, Emerson. That’s just some of the names Bartomeu has brought to the team over the past few years. Most have already left for other landscapes. 120 million Griezmann consumes a swap bench.
La Masía, which has achieved a legendary reputation, is no longer the same star factory whose gems are brought to the representative team as in the early 2000s. Bartomeu is accused of neglecting La Masía.
Meanwhile, sheikh-owned and run Manchester City has created England’s best junior academy, a credible top club and acquired a high level of footballers.
Its own chapter has been Barcelona coach circus after Luis Enrique.
Ernesto Valverde won two La Liga championships as Real Madrid struggled with their own problems. Valverde’s fate, however, provoked the resistance of the players.
Last season, word spread in the Spanish press that Bartomeu had also hired a communications company to blackmail players on social media through anonymous accounts. The power struggle was already underway.
Quique Setién arrived last January, but the cohabitation lasted until August 2020. According to Spanish media, Bartomeu ordered sports director Éric Abidalia to kick Setién when the team collapsed in the Champions League against Bayern 2-8. A day later, Abidal was allowed to leave.
Lionel Messi, perhaps the best footballer of all time, raised the bar when he informed the club management that he was leaving FC Barcelona behind. It was the last blow under Bartomeu’s belt. Day after day, he heard the insults of supporters as he cursed by car into the Camp Nou car park.
In the end, Messi stayed for at least one season and severely grabbed the club’s current leadership.
Now Bartomeu left FC Barcelona’s office permanently and at the same time massive fires were left behind.
The representative team will inevitably age and no long-term reconstruction plan has been created around it. Wage costs have become a burden.
During this season, Luis Suárez was admitted to Atlético Madrid for virtually free. Promising Arthur was replaced by Juventus ’30-year-old Miralem Pjanic to help Barcelona avoid transfer sanctions and balance accounting.
The future of the fair is open.
The club announced in October made a loss of EUR 97 million last season. FC Barcelona’s total debt doubled to almost EUR 500 million.
A new president is likely to be elected in January. The recipient of that wash is facing the most challenging job of his life.