Pep Guardiola is optimistic “the best club in the world” Barcelona will recover from off-field turmoil “in a short time” under a new president.
Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu was “provisionally released under charges of unfair administration and corruption of business” after being arrested following a raid on the LaLiga club’s offices on Monday.
Bartomeu and ex-director Jaume Masferrer exercised their right not to testify on Tuesday when answering to charges of unfair administration and corruption of business.
Barca’s head of legal services Roman Gomez Ponti and former director Jaume Masferrer were also arrested.
The Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) has confirmed the case was still open.
The investigation is thought to centre around the “Barcagate” scandal, when the Spanish giants allegedly paid social media company 13 Ventures to smear celebrated club names such as Lionel Messi, Guardiola, Xavi, Gerard Pique and ex-president Joan Laporta during Bartomeu’s leadership.
Francisco Trincão pic.twitter.com/uARJDV88gf
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 2, 2021
Los Mossos searched Barca’s offices in July 2020 in relation to the claims, although the club hired Price Waterhouse Coopers to investigate the matter and the global auditing firm found in their favour.
Former Barca player and head coach Guardiola believes there will be better times to come for the Catalan powerhouse following Sunday’s presidential election, with Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Antoni Freixa standing for office.
Manchester City manager Guardiola said after his side’s 4-1 Premier League win over Wolves on Tuesday: “I know it’s an uncomfortable situation and hopefully it’s going to finish well. He’s [Bartomeu] already now innocent until proven guilty.
“The only thing I’m concerned about right now is in one week we will have a new president. I want to congratulate all three for the campaign, we are in a difficult situation all around the world and in Barcelona especially, for many reasons everybody already knows.
“To have the courage to the lead the next years and I’m pretty sure 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 issues and I’m pretty sure Barcelona will come back stronger in a short time.
“The new president will have to lead with confidence, join the team and fans together as one and it’s going to be the club that we are. I’m looking forward to the election next Sunday and hopefully the president we choose will be okay.”
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