President of top European football club, FC Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has resigned from his position alongside his board members on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. This news came as a surprise amidst the Champions League action that took place yesterday night. The Spaniard who has been the President of the club since 2014, following the resignation of Sandro Rosell, has come under fire in recent years, owing to Barcelona’s drop in performance since 2017, the exit of Neymar, the abysmal activities in the transfer market, the shocking UEFA Champions League exits in three consecutive seasons, the 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League last season(a major reason for calls aimed at Bartomeu to step down), and most recently, the Lionel Messi exit saga, which drove a huge wedge between the leaders of the club, and the fans. Bartomeu announced his exit as President of Barcelona on his page:
Today I have announced my resignation and that of the rest of the FC Barcelona Board of Directors. Here I explain my reasons and briefly look back at these years in charge. I am proud to have served the club. Visca el Barça i visca Catalunya!”
Josep Maria Bartomeu
During his 35-minute speech, Bartomeu bid the club farewell to confirm news of his resignation, and equally revealed his final acts as President of the club which will see FC Barcelona take part in a future European Super League. Bartomeu did not fail to speak about the intense criticism he received during his tenure as President. He was due to face a vote of no confidence, but instead opted to resign, having known the most-likely outcome of that.
I have always accepted criticism…..They say I have a great capacity for resilience. I do not know. What I do know is that I have gained enough experience, together with my fellow board members, to know what reality to live with from the direction of the club. But what we have experienced in recent months exceeds any limit. My board members and I have been disrespected; I’ve been insulted, threatened even, me and my family. Also to all my fellow board members
The Catalan club has convened an interim board of directors to help manage the club’s affairs until the next elections. The 53-year-old Catalan, current CEO of the companies ADELTE and EFS, started his career at Barcelona as a board member of the club, and was appointed the head of the Basketball division, during Joan Laporta’s reign. He would go on to become the vice-president of the club, when Sandro Rosell took charge, from 2010 – 2014. Following the ‘Neymar Case’, (issues resulting from the Neymar transfer), Bartomeu took over reigns and became the 40th President of Barcelona Football Club. He is also currently being investigated concerning the tax fraud over the Neymar transfer issue, and is set to appear in court after his appeal was rejected. The issues resulting from the Neymar transfer has been one of the many problems surrounding Bartomeu’s reign as President of the club.
Just before Bartomeu’s resignation, his last official act was to announce Barcelona’s willingness to participate in a European Super League which will see the club’s revenue rise, though it is still subject to ratification and approval at a members’ assembly. The Spaniard also confirmed, that Barcelona had agreed to a new format in the FIFA Club World Cup.
Today I can announce a piece of news that will extraordinarily change the club’s revenue prospects for the coming years. The board of directors yesterday approved the acceptance of the requirements to participate in a future European Super League of football clubs, a project promoted by the big clubs in Europe. The details of these requirements will be available to the next board of directors, and the decision on participation in this competition will have to be ratified by the next Assembly of Compromising Partners. And I also want to announce that we have approved the acceptance of the future new format of the Club World Cup
The Super League is a competition that’s been in talks since the 1990’s, but it appears that plans have been put in place for it to become a reality, as it’s already been branded ‘The European Super League’. It is set to feature 18 European Clubs, reportedly said to include 5 English teams, and teams from Spain, Italy, Germany and France, basically the top teams from Europe’s top 5 leagues, with no promotion or relegation of the teams involved. The European Super League, if put in place as planned, would effectively replace the UEFA Champions League as from the year 2022.
Manchester United and Liverpool are reportedly spear-heading the commencement of the competition. It is believed that talks of the competition coming up earlier than expected, is no coincidence, as it will financially benefit the participants massively. The COVID-19 pandemic has left so many clubs in debt or having to deal with financial problems. Top European clubs have seen the formation of the European Super League as a way to cut their losses and help make profit to bolster their finance in the near future.
Featured Image Source: Marca