FC Barcelona has stated it will pursue the Eur23 million the Spanish Supreme Court has ruled is owed by ex-president Joan Laporta and seven former board members, while Laporta has claimed the episode is part of a personal vendetta being pursued by current president Sandro Rosell.
The Supreme Court this week ruled that Laporta and seven of the directors who served during his tenure present guarantees to cover the more than Eur23 million loss Barcelona registered for the 2002-03 season. The case had been brought by club member Vicenc Pla in 2010, but the court’s ruling will only be enforced if he decides to do so. Pla told Catalunya Radio he is yet to determine the next step. “We have not yet decided,” he said. “The sentence is in our favour, and in favour of the club. (But) if they knew they had an obligation to cover the guarantee, why do they not do it?”
Speaking at a press conference, Barcelona spokesman and secretary Toni Freixa said that the club’s previous board had agreed to the guarantee and must now fulfil it. “It’s a clear sentence and the decision is unquestionable,” he said. “It clarifies for once and for all the mandate of the previous board. We expect that we will receive the guarantee, because we live in a society which respects the law. The sentence orders the accused to guarantee the debt – not to pay it off. We are waiting for the club member who made the original charges to ask for the sentence to be carried out. We won’t rule out getting a guarantee which the law has provided.” For his part, Laporta has claimed the case is part of a campaign being waged against him by Rosell and the current board, adding that the debt in question came from the presidency of Joan Gaspart between 2000 and 2003. “They (Barcelona’s board) are the ones who have made the claims,” Laporta told the AS newspaper. “They are hiding behind Vicenc Pla and want to discredit our good management. It is shameful.”
In other news, Barcelona has hailed the club’s first midday Primera Division game as a “great success”. The Spanish Football League (LFP) has this season introduced midday kick-offs in a bid to tap into the lucrative Asian market. While Real Madrid played its first midday game in November, Barcelona’s 6-1 thrashing of Getafe on Sunday was its first match under the new scheme. The game was themed to help celebrate the Chinese New Year, with the game being broadcast live in China, while the attendance of 85,610 was Barcelona’s third-largest league gate this season. Freixa said: “This was a great success for the fans and a great game. We’ve sorted out any doubts we had and it’s clear that we can play at midday, although we have always said that playing at that time could harm the regional game here. We are open to suggestions and we would admit that this was a great success, both in sporting and social terms.”