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Josep Maria Bartomeu

FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu in two interviews with Catalan TV Stations TV3 and 8tv has maintained that the charges against him and the Club with regards to the transfer of Barça player Neymar are simply "an attack on the institution: It makes no sense to charge a club like Barça, it is over the top and out of proportion. It is an attack on Barça and we have to defend ourselves." The president did not hold back in the interviews: "There is a red line that has been crossed and we have to say enough. There is too much going on and we have to put a stop to it because a line has been crossed."

The Barça President commented that it is "particularly strange that it has all happened so quickly," whilst at the same time assuring that nothing untoward has taken place: "Next week I will go to the Audiencia Nacional [National Court] and we will once again explain the truth. I want to make it clear that Barça has not done anything wrong. All we have done is bring a player like Neymar [to the club]. Barça, its executives, its employees nor its directors have done anything wrong. All this comes from someone who did not want him to come to Barça. Neymar's father said that he had a better offer from Madrid, and that did not go down too well."

Politics and Sport

President Bartomeu was firm about the figure paid for Neymar and was clear about the transparency of the operation: "Everything we have done has been assessed and we have followed the usual steps for the signing of a player like Neymar. We said the signing cost 57 million [Euros] and we stand by that figure." He went on to explain the nature of the case: "There are some contracts that Barça interprets one way and the national court another, that is where the difference lies." These legal manoeuvres have led President Bartomeu to believe that there is something behind the accusations: "I don't have any evidence but there are facts. Last year we allowed the stadium to be used for the 'Freedom Concert' and we played a game wearing the Catalan national flag kit - the Catalan Independence march passed through Camp Nou and so perhaps that was not to everyone's taste. I see a political and sporting angle and so we will continue to work to get to the crux of the matter as we do not want it to end here. I am convinced that there are certain powers of State that are not happy that Neymar came to Barça." The Barça President reminded everyone of previous cases that have affected FC Barcelona: "A club like Barça throughout its history has suffered injustices and this is yet another, and it is serious. I want to get to the bottom of it all. We have done things in the right way. We will continue with the same strength and if necessary more so."

"We want to get to the truth"

The Barça president reminded everyone that this case is the "first time that the State has charged a legal entity" and that "it has been 30 or 35 years since a similar case," maintaining that nothing out of place has occured: "We have always said that we want to get to the bottom of it because Barça has done nothing wrong. We have not broken any law at any time. For that reason we will not accept any deal. Neither Sandro Rosell nor myself bear any blame." Bartomeu continued: "We want to get to the truth. We want to explain that we have acted within the law and not outside it. We have acted accordingly and we would do the same to bring Neymar to our club.

The electoral process

The latest developments with the Neymar case will not affect the electoral process that Barça will undergo in the next few months. "In January we announced that there would be elections," Bartomeu reminded everyone. "We wanted calm and we got it. That does not change the process. I will stand for election at the end of the season. The agenda between now and the elections remains as planned. The Neymar court case, that seemed to be in the past, only serves to strengthen us, myself and the Board."

Other legal investigations

During the two interviews the president stated that there were other legal investigations. "There are legal investigations into myself and other directors and so that is also another coincidence. There are also legal investigations into players from the first team. Barça is in the spotlight. There are State powers that don't like Barça being so successful. We are under attack and we think it is undeserved."

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