Bartomeu denies Barcelona used social media to attack players
The Barça president admitted the club had hired the company I3 Ventures, but said it was false the club had done so to improve his reputation and that of the board.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has denied reports Barcelona hired a company to create social media accounts aimed at improving his reputation as club president along with that of the board, while at the same time damaging the image of players such as Gerard Piqué, Lionel Messi and other figures associated with the club, including Víctor Font, Pep Guardiola and Xavi.
Bartomeu admits relationship with social media company
Bartomeu, speaking at the XIV Vázquez Montalbán International Journalism Awards, admitted that Barcelona had hired I3 Ventures, the company at the centre of the storm, but said: "I want things to be clear to our members. There must be no doubt in the minds of anybody that Barça has never hired any company to damage the reputation of any player, former player, politician, president or ex-president. It's false. We will defend ourselves as necessary against the people who are accusing us. It's false. Barcelona has never hired anyone to damage the reputation of anybody".
Bartomeu admitted that Barcelona had hired I3 Ventures at the end of 2017, but having seen that the company was connected to the account Respeto y Deporte (Respect and Sport) one of the accounts named in the reports, "this morning we gave the instruction to break the contract with this company (I3 Ventures)."
Bartomeu admitted I3 Ventures had been hired to improve the image of Barcelona on social media, but denied the company had been hired to damage the reputation of individuals. "Barça did not contract services to damage the reputation of anybody and we will defend ourselves against those who are attacking us," said Bartomeu.
Bartomeu reminds accuser of previous legal cases
Bartomeu also made reference to two cases Barcelona have won in the courts recently. "In the Paulinho case we were accused of corruption and were proved right, and we were also found to be correct in the spying case."