Rousaud deepens Barcelona's civil war, ready to go to court

Barcelona pledged legal action against Emili Rousaud after denying his allegations of malpractice but the former vice-president has hit back

Barcelona recently reshuffled its board following a few resignations.   -  Getty Images

Former Barcelona vice-president Emili Rousaud has doubled down on allegations of corruption against his former employers as the behind-the-scenes crisis engulfing La Liga's champion shows no sign of abating.

Barcelona announced on Monday it would take legal action against Rousaud after his claims "someone had their hand in the till" at the club – allegations that were strongly rebuffed.

READ | Barcelona to take legal action against ex-vice president Rousaud

Unbowed, Rousaud – one of six members of Josep Maria Bartomeu's board to resign last week – issued a statement via Mundo Deportivo declaring his readiness for a court battle if necessary.

It read: "For the sole purpose of responding to the announcement made by the FC Barcelona spokesperson about filing a criminal complaint against me for the statements made regarding the so-called 'BarcaGate' case, I want to state the following:

"1. The existence of corruption within the club is evident in the fact that it has already been shown that contracts between related companies…

"2. The statements I made regarding this matter are absolutely true and demonstrable; the opinions that I have expressed are absolutely well-founded, which allows me to state that the announced complaint has no basis whatsoever.

"3. Unfortunately, when I made the club aware of these irregularities it became the cause of my resignation. However, it cannot be underestimated that there is a moral – and legal – obligation to publicly report irregular actions that may constitute crime."

Over the course of six points in total, Rousaud confirmed the matter was now in the hands of his legal representatives, while insisting he has "never questioned the honourability of our beloved club and its employees".

Bartomeu is not obliged to call elections until 2021, when he will not be able to stand, although there is a growing demand for him to bring the date forward.

The Barca president's standing has been weakened in recent months over apparent clashes with Lionel Messi over the star player's future at the club and the handling of pay cuts given to the squad in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rousaud, Enrique Tombas, Silvio Elias, Josep Pont, Jordi Calsamiglia and Maria Texidor stepped down amid this climate of mounting tension.

Prospective candidate Victor Font, leader of the Si al futur group seeking to take control of the Camp Nou boardroom, issued an open letter at the weekend that claimed Barcelona was at risk of "economic bankruptcy" and that "moral decay" had set in at the club.

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Like Rousaud, Font questioned Barca's alleged agreement with the PR company 13 Ventures, which purportedly ran social media campaigns to boost Bartomeu's standing and disparage current and former players critical of his regime. Both Barcelona and 13 Ventures deny the claims.

On Monday, Bartomeu's board reshuffle was confirmed by Barcelona. Jordi Moix, Pau Vilanova and Oriol Tomas took on vice-presidential briefs, with Marta Plana secretary of the board of directors and David Bellver becoming treasurer. Javier Bordas is the manager responsible for first-team football, with Xavier Vilajoana overseeing Barca B, youth teams and women's football.

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