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FC Barcelona’s Lengthy Crisis Worsens After Six Board Members Resign

The past year at FC Barcelona has occurred under an endless state of turmoil. There was the firing of head coach Ernesto Valverde, then there was “Barcagate,” the speculation that club president Josep Maria Bartomeu had hired a PR firm to deliberately sabotage some of the team’s former and current players on social media. In February, there was the very public spat between Eric Abidal, the sporting director, and Lionel Messi that still hasn’t really been resolved.

On Thursday night, the drama continued when six members of the club board resigned. As reported by La Vanguardia, the group’s letter of resignation to Bartomeu expressed discontent with his leadership and called for new elections, which would lead to a challenger emerging to take over the club:

We have reached this point by not being able to reverse the criteria and forms of management of the club in the face of the important challenges of the future and, especially, from the new post-pandemic scenario.

As a last service to our club, we recommend that as soon as circumstances allow it to convene new elections that allow, with all the ‘authority’, to manage the club in the best possible way in the face of the important challenges of the immediate future.

After rumors started swirling that Bartomeu was planning on reshuffling the boardroom, former vice president Emili Rousaud, joined by Enrique Tombas, Silvio Elías, Josep Pont, Maria Teixidor and Jordi Calsamiglia chose to leave the club. Bartomeu has been in charge since 2015.

In an interview with RAC1 on Friday, Rousaud suggested that someone at the club is stealing money and questioned Bartomeu’s honesty in an audit of the club’s finances. For their part, what was left of the Barcelona board immediately released a statement threatening legal action against the former vice president.

Bartomeu has come under pressure in recent months as internal strife within the club has worsened, making one of the richest clubs in the world look like an unorganized picture of corruption and mess. Fans have voiced their increasing frustrations on everything from the exorbitant amount of money the club was spending in the transfer market to the carousel of coaches to the consecutive disappointing exits from the UEFA Champions League.

Making matters worse is how the players have grown tired of the club’s antics as well. Reports of Messi’s dissatisfaction with the club’s transfers grow every day, Ivan Rakitic did not like how his rumored exit from the club was handled and the players released a statement last month about how they didn’t appreciate the way in which the club forced them to take a pay cut.