Monday, January 22, 2018

Barca president quits amid Neymar transfer probe

 •         BARCELONA

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell resigned yesterday in the aftermath of a Spanish court’s decision to investigate last year’s signing of Brazil forward Neymar.

“The success the club has had has also come along with difficult moments for myself and my family,” Rosell told a news conference after a board meeting held by the Spanish champions.

“There have been threats and accusations which make you consider your position including the claim of misappropriation of funds and the court case. I’ve always stated that we acted correctly with the Neymar transfer.”

Rosell told reporters yesterday that senior vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu would replace him as Barca chief until his presidency was due to end in two years’ time. Judge Pablo Ruz on Wednesday ordered the start of a hearing to investigate Barcelona for alleged misappropriation of funds over the signing of Brazil’s 2014 World Cup hope Neymar, saying Rosell could be called in person to give evidence.

“This board is a team and this group has led a project that has had a lot of success,” Rosell told yesterday’s news conference. “I don’t want attacks to affect the club and for that reason I have resigned permanently as president of FC Barcelona.

“Josep Maria Bartomeu will take over the presidency with immediate effect until the end of the mandate in 2016.”

Rosell won the presidency in 2010 with 35,021 votes, more than any other man in the club’s history, and Barca have since won two La Liga titles and the Champions League plus a host of other trophies.