The covenant in accordance that FC Barcelona is about to sign with Public Prosecutor and State Legal Service regarding the Neymar Case was “the best option for the club. It was not nice to have to make a decision by which the club is found guilty, but it’s the least painful solution” said Román Gómez Ponti, the head of the FC Barcelona Legal Services, at a press conference on Wednesday.
In an act of transparency, he explained that FC Barcelona has had to assume a fine of 5.2 million euros. The club’s lawyer for this case, Cristóbal Martell, explained why: “Faced by the abstract risk of 22 million euros, it seemed more reasonable to pay one for 5.2. Between heaven and hell there is something that might not be paradise, but is reasonable. It means we can turn the page.
Going to court, he added, would have meant FC Barcelona having to pay a guarantee. “This way we can pay and move on” he insisted.
Gómez Ponti went on to comment that “no matter how much we insist that we did nothing wrong, sometimes you have to give in to the evidence and realise that your arguments aren’t convincing enough.”
The agreed fined is offset by the deposit made on 24 February 2014 (complementary self-assessment for a total amount of 13.5 million euros), with 1.6 million euros still pending.
This covenant in accordance is not being presented in any way in exchange for the absolution of president Josep Maria Bartomeu or former president Sandro Rosell. “It was not agreed in order to save the neck of any president or former president” explained Martell. “These are not cards you can simply swap. That’s not the way these things work because they are subject to a principle of legality.”
Asked about the repercussions of the private prosecution presented by former president Joan Laporta, Martell replied that “I’m perplexed. The penal procedure is a claim against the club and accusing Bartomeu means going back to the club’s tax offence of 2014”. Gómez Ponti continued that “in order to accuse Mr Bartomeu and Mr Rosell, he is trying to find Barça guilty in a case that has already been dismissed.”
Gómez Ponti ended by saying that “the club has to be as transparent as possible. This agreement will be available for viewing by any members in the Barcelona Supporter Services Office. Likewise, any member is free to examine the agreement by the Board (which shall be approved at its next meeting on Monday) and all of the legal reports that were presented in defence of the agreement.”