Pep Guardiola labels Josep Maria Bartomeu arrest as ‘uncomfortable situation’ ahead of Barcelona elections

The former president of the Catalan club, who has been released from jail, is part of an investigation dubbed ‘Barçagate’

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
@mjcritchley
Wednesday 03 March 2021 08:10
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<p>Pep Guardiola is hopeful the presidential elections will spark a new era at Barcelona</p>

Pep Guardiola is hopeful the presidential elections will spark a new era at Barcelona

Pep Guardiola described Josep Maria Bartomeu's arrest as an “uncomfortable situation” and hopes Barcelona can move forward following Sunday's presidential elections.

Barcelona’s former president Bartomeu was arrested on Monday alongside several other officials as part of a police investigation as part of a case dubbed ‘Barçagate’.

The case centres on Barcelona’s relationship with a company called I3 Ventures, which is alleged to have created social media accounts to smear club figures who were critical of Bartomeu.

Barcelona are also alleged to have overpaid I3 Ventures for their services.

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The club deny any wrongdoing and last year commissioned an internal audit which showed there had not been “any defamatory campaigns directed at third parties” and that “no corrupt behaviour took place”.

Bartomeu, who resigned as president in October, was released from jail on Tuesday.

Barcelona’s members will choose his permanent successor this weekend, with Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa standing for election on Sunday.

“I know it’s an uncomfortable situation and hopefully it is going to finish well,” said Guardiola when asked about Bartomeu’s arrest. “He’s already now innocent until the court maybe proves he is guilty.

“The only thing I'm concerned with right now is that in one week we’ll have a new president. I want to congratulate all three for the campaign.

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“Of course it’s a difficult situation all around the world and at Barcelona especially for many reasons as everyone knows, so have the courage to lead the next years.

“Hopefully as many people as possible can vote and choose the right president to lead this incredible club, for me the best club in the world, for the sentimental issue.

“I’m pretty sure Barcelona will come back stronger in a short time. The new president just has to lead the confidence of everyone, and join the team and the fans all together and they are going to be the club they are.

“I’m looking forward to the election next Sunday and hopefully the president we choose will be OK.”

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