Barcelona football club is under investigation over alleged financial miss-management relating to the Barcagate scandal which allegedly started in February 2020.
On Monday, March 1, 2021, the Catalan police force in Spain stormed the headquarters of FC Barcelona in search of documents relating to the scandal. It was also reported that some officials of the clubs were arrested and taken into police custody.
Reports in Spain also claimed that the former president of the club, Josep Maria Bartomeu was among those connected to the scandal that the police arrested on Monday.
Recall that Bartomeu had to resign in October 2020 due to pressure from both internal and external stakeholders of the club. He has been accused of a series of irregularities which include the Barcagate scandal.
An election to elect a new president of the club is scheduled to hold on Sunday, March 7, 2021. Before a new president of the club will be elected, the police department in charge of the ongoing investigation intends to make some “facts” clear according to a statement from the club.
“FC Barcelona have offered up their full collaboration to the legal and police authorities to help make clear facts which are subject to investigation,” the club said.
“The information and documentation requested by the judicial police force relate strictly to the facts relative to this case.
“FC Barcelona expresses its utmost respect for the judicial process in place and the principle of presumed innocence for the people affected within the remit of this investigation.”
What is the Barcagate scandal at FC Barcelona?
The Barcagate scandal was a tagged made popular by a group known as Dignitat Blaugrana which was the first group that complained about the activities of I3 Ventures.
According to the group, FC Barcelona contracted I3 Ventures to stage a social media campaign that will give Josep Maria Bartomeu a favorable public image and attack others who were against him.
Some of those the company was allegedly contracted to attack via social media included the club’s players – Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique topped the list. The campaign was heavily noticed in February.
Even though the scandal was heavily linked to the hierarchy of FC Barcelona, the club released a statement to distance itself from the social media campaign but admitted that the club has a contract with I3 Ventures.
The club threatened to terminate the contract that the club had with I3 Ventures since the company was said to be involved in tarnishing the image of the club’s players.
Afterward, reports imaged that FC Barcelona overpaid the company but according to an external audit conducted by Price Waterhouse Coopers, the club did not overpay the company as alleged.
However, the police have gotten involved in the case due to the financial misappropriation and other legal aspects related to the scandal. The police visit to the club on Monday was the second in less than 6 months. The police were at the club last summer in connection with the case.
As it stands, the fans of the club and lovers of football are keenly watching to see how the ongoing police investigation will affect the planned presidential election at FC Barcelona on Sunday.
ℹ️ Official statement from FC Barcelona— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 1, 2021