Barcelona’s Argentine ahead Lionel Messi/ AFP
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu mentioned on Tuesday the membership has terminated its contract with an organization accused of criticising present and former gamers, together with Lionel Messi, on social media.
“This morning I personally gave instructions terminate the contract,” Bartomeu mentioned at a journalism awards ceremony.
In response to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser Cataluna on Monday, Barca employed a PR firm, I3 Ventures, to enhance the picture of Bartomeu and the membership’s board on-line.
The corporate oversaw “dozens” of accounts attacking the likes of Messi, Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez, Pep Guardiola and Carles Puyol on Fb and Twitter.
Among the many messages, the report cited is one expressing anger in the direction of Messi for his delay in signing a brand new contract and one other questioning Pique’s involvement within the Davis Cup.
In a press release on Monday, Barcelona denied that it was behind the messages and Bartomeu reiterated that stance on Tuesday.
“Barca has never hired a service to discredit anyone,” he mentioned. “Not a player, not a former player, nor any politician, manager, president or former president.”
Bartomeu added: “That is flatly false. We will defend ourselves where necessary on this issue, by all means.”
Barcelona had already threatened authorized motion towards any media organisations that “continue to implicate the club in this type of practice”.
“Let one thing be clear,” Bartomeu continued. “To the query: Have we commissioned the monitoring of social networks? The reply is sure.
“To the query: Have we commissioned to discredit individuals or establishments by means of social networks? The reply isn’t any and we are going to take motion towards all those that accuse us of that.”
The controversy will increase the stress on Bartomeu and the Barcelona board forward of presidential elections due subsequent yr and following a interval of political turmoil on the membership.
The board have been clumsy of their sacking of coach Ernesto Valverde final month when an strategy to Xavi Hernandez was leaked whereas Valverde was nonetheless in put up.
And two weeks in the past, Messi engaged in a public spat with the membership’s technical secretary Eric Abidal, who claimed the gamers have been the primary explanation for Valverde’s removing.
The timing of this newest controversy can also be a possible distraction forward of a vital week for the staff.
Barcelona play Eibar at house in La Liga on Saturday earlier than going through Napoli away within the Champions League after which Actual Madrid within the league on the Santiago Bernabeu.