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The FC Barcelona Board of Directors in a meeting today has analysed the audit report commissioned on 19 February 2020 and carried out by the firm Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) and delivered this morning on the subject of the monitoring service of social networks contracted by the Club.
The conclusions of the audit report as well as the technical economic proposal with details of the services contracted are available here.
In summary the conclusions are:
1) That the contracting of various services related to monitoring and analysis of social networks on behalf of FC Barcelona did not include any defamatory campaigns directed at third parties.
“(..) we have not detected any evidence that any member of the team of directors at the Club gave any indications or directives relating to the creation or generation of content from Identified Profiles and/or had any relation to FC Barcelona players or anyone related to the Club – at the moment or at any time in the past – and/or their circle.”
2) That no corrupt behaviour took place.
“(…) we have found no evidence that any member of the team of directors at the Club have benefited financially from the contracts, services and/or payments made to the providers of the analysis.”
3) That the value of the services included in the project contracted were within the market price range.
“(…) in agreement with the different proposals that we have received relating to the service contracted by the Club to NS Group, the range of which was defined in the techno-economic proposal, a comparable annual price reference for these services would be found in a range of 850,000 to 1.300,000 euros.”
“(…) in the 17/18 season 6 contracts were signed for a total annual value of 1.107,550 euros, and in the following two seasons, 5 contracts were signed per season for a total value of 947,700 euros.”
4) That, even though in the context of formalising and extending contracts, the protocols for internal validation at the Club were not followed, the project had been presented formally, on various occasions, to the Club’s Board of Directors.
“The formalisation of the initial ordering of various contracts, with various providers, meant that the level of internal authorisation applied to the contracts was less than that established for a single contract. In the context of formalisation and extension of Contracts, some of the Club’s Policies for Internal Validation were not followed.”
“We have been able to ascertain that the Board of Directors were aware of the order for the Service due to the following: on 5 and 6 October 2018, a meeting took place at which were present members of the Board of Directors at the Hotel Salagrós EcoResort in Vallromanes, and on 17 June 2019 a Board of Directors’ meeting that took place on that date.”
5) That the work effectively carried out by the business providers is incomplete, in agreement with the order and the services contracted.
“we have been able to prove that certain services were not provided or not used by the Club (…) according to evidence that we have obtained from the management of the order requested, the reasonable annual reference price for the service provided and use of the service has been established in a range, the upper limit of which is 620,000 euros.”
The PWC audit report is divided into two phases:
Phase I: Critical, Objective and Independent Investigation
- Analysis of all the Supporting Documentation (contracts, invoices, reports, etc.)
- Procedures of digital evidence from the IT resources used by the Club’s executives who would have taken part in the signing of contracts with the providers identified by the Club (laptops, mobile phones, tablets, USBs, etc).
- Comprehensive analysis of the figures invoiced by the providers identified by the Club with the figures on offer for comparable services on the market.
- Analysis of financial and administrative documentation from the Club.
- Procedures of Corporate Intelligence. Methodology used to identify the concrete links between the providers identified by the Club as well as the existence of other related providers.
Phase II: Production of an internal conclusion report
- Identification of the most relevant points as a consequence of the analysis carried out.
- Considerations and conclusions in relation to the identification work and analysis carried out.
- Recommendations addressed to the Club’s management and opportune considerations in relations to the irregularities that have eventually been identified.
The auditing company reflects in the report itself that it has had unlimited access to all documentation and information that it has requested from the Club related to the case.
Board of Directors' Decisions
1) In view of the conclusions expressed in the audit report, the Board of Directors instructs the Club’s legal services to continue and , if necessary, bring the relevant legal action against those who have made false and unfounded accusations that have gravely damaged the institution’s image and those who form part of it. The contents of this report, and its conclusions, will be also be brought forward in those proceedings launched against the Club based on alleged irregular behaviour that this document clarifies and denies.
2) After months of having lived with defamatory accusations on this matter, FC Barcelona asks those media outlets who made the charges of improper behaviour against our organisation to proceed to rectify that information, given that it has no basis and has been denied by a report that has been put together with unlimited access to the information requested about the Club and its executives.
3) Request that the business providers of the social network monitoring services contracted at the time complete the work invoiced that remains to be done with the express warning that, should they fail to do so, the Club will take the necessary legal proceedings in defence of its legitimate interests. The Board considers that the management of these contracts by the Club has not been careful enough and for that reason it will take the necessary corresponding measure to correct this.
4) The Board of Directors, in agreement with the recommendations expressed in the audit report, and with the aim of correcting the problems that have come about in the processing of these contracts, has given the task of creating a procedure for projects that the Board considers strategic and confidential to the Club’s CEO.
5) The Board of Directors have given instructions to the Club’s legal services to pass on to the Justice Department evidence of defamatory attacks on the Club on social networks, corroborated in the reports put together by Nicestream in June 2019 and by Deloitte, the Club’s cybersecurity provider, in the period between July 2019 and February 2020, to determine the corresponding responsibility.
6) The audit report by PWC determines that the report published by Cadena Ser on 17 February on Mr. Víctor Font was not commissioned by FC Barcelona nor by the analysis After the alleged extortion, reported at the time, the object of which was the director of the Presidential Area of the Club in relation to this document, FC Barcelona will carry out civil and penal action against those allegedly responsible for this extortion, in line with what comes out of the investigation carried out on the matter by the judicial police.
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