Barcelona President Sandro Rosell Resigns Amidst Controversy Regarding Neymar Signing
Barcelona President Sandro Rosell on Thursday night "officially communicated his decision to resign" from the post he took over in July '10, according to AS. His replacement is current VP Josep María Bartomeu, who takes over until '16. Rosell, "under pressure due to the Neymar case, with Judge Pablo Rafael Ruz agreeing to investigate the signing," announced he was "leaving the club and that he had presented his irrevocable resignation." Rosell "had been considering his position over recent days." He "called an extraordinary board meeting to present his decision." Rosell: "The last few days have seen a case filed against me at the High Court. I've said that Neymar's signing is correct and it’s made our rivals jealous. I don’t want unfair attacks [on the club] and for that reason my time here has finished and I have presented my resignation. It's been an honor to serve the Barcelonistas" (AS, 1/23). FOX SPORTS' Dermot Corrigan reported Spanish newspaper El Mundo on Monday claimed that Barcelona had paid €95M, contradicting Rosell's claim that Barcelona paid €57M to sign the Brazilian. The case started when Barcelona member Jordi Cases asked the Barcelona board in December to "provide full information on the transfer" and later "petitioned the Spanish legal system to get the documents released" (FOX SPORTS, 1/22). AS reported following Rosell's resignation, Bartomeu "expressed his desire to follow the same line as his predecessor." Bartomeu: "I ask for the support of the club members, that they trust in this project." Bartomeu said that he would "address the media further at a press conference on Friday, where he would answer all questions" (AS, 1/23).
ROSELL UNDER INVESTIGATION: In Madrid, Fernando Kallás wrote the "Neymar case" is "just the latest controversial bit of business" by Rosell in Brazil. Rosell, Nike's former representative in Brazil and "personal friend of the ex-president of the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) Ricardo Teixeira," is under investigation by the Brazilian prosecutors for "suspected fraud in two cases." Rosell could be "sentenced to up to eight years in jail for forgery and for benefiting economically from contracts to promote a friendly between Brazil and Portugal" in '08. Prosecutors are "seeking the return" of €3M paid to Rosell's Ailanto Marketing Ltd. company. Additionally, Rosell is under investigation for "allegedly receiving part of funds paid to the CBF by countries from around the world for friendlies against Brazil." The monies were supposedly "diverted to bank accounts of companies owned by him," with headquarters in the U.S. and the "tax haven of Andorra" (AS, 1/23).