Guardiola: Bartomeu's arrest an 'uncomfortable situation' for Barca

Pep Guardiola labels Josep Bartomeu’s arrest an ‘uncomfortable situation’ for Barcelona but believes ‘the world’s greatest club’ can move forward once they elect a new president on Sunday

  • Josep Bartomeu was arrested for his alleged involvement in ‘Barcagate’ scandal
  • Bartomeu is alleged to have run a smear campaign against people critical of him 
  • Pep Guardiola admitted his arrest is an ‘uncomfortable situation’ for the club
  • His successor will be appointed following Sunday’s presidential elections 

Pep Guardiola described Josep Maria Bartomeu’s arrest as an ‘uncomfortable situation’ but believes the ‘world’s greatest club’ Barcelona can move forward after Sunday’s presidential elections. 

Barcelona’s ex-president Bartomeu was arrested on Monday alongside several other people as part of a police investigation into their alleged involvement in the ‘Barcagate’ smear campaign scandal.

The case centres on Barcelona’s relationship with a company called I3 Ventures, who were allegedly hired to promote negative stories about club figures who had been critical of Bartomeu during his time as president.

Pep Guardiola admitted Josep Bartomeu’s arrest is an ‘uncomfortable situation’ for Barcelona

Club’s ex-president was arrested for his alleged involvement of ‘Barcagate’ smear campaign

Bartomeu and the club have denied any wrongdoing and Barcelona commissioned an internal audit last year which showed that there had not been ‘any defamatory campaigns directed at third parties’ and that ‘no corrupt behaviour took place’.

Bartomeu was one of four people to have been arrested, with Barcelona’s CEO Oscar Grau, head of legal services Roman Gomez Ponti and his own adviser Jaume Masferrer reportedly the other three. 

The former Barcelona president, who resigned from his position in October amid immense pressure to stand down, was released from jail on Tuesday.  

His permanent successor will be chosen on Sunday by Barcelona’s members, with Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa standing for election.

Guardiola, who spent 17 years at Barcelona as a player and four as a manager, hopes the club’s new president will help them move on from the difficult state of affairs surrounding them at present.

Police arrested Bartomeu and several other people on Monday as part of an investigation 

Joan Laporta (L-R), Victor Font and Toni Freixa will stand election to be their new president

The Manchester City boss said: ‘I know it’s an uncomfortable situation and hopefully it is going to finish well. He’s already now innocent until the court maybe proves he is guilty.

‘The only thing I’m concerned with right now is that in one week we’ll have a new president. I want to congratulate all three for the campaign.

‘Of course it’s a difficult situation all around the world and at Barcelona especially for many reasons as everyone knows, so have the courage to lead the next years.

‘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 issue.

‘I’m pretty sure Barcelona will come back stronger in a short time. The new president just has to lead the confidence of everyone, and join the team and the fans all together and they are going to be the club they are.

Barca boss Ronald Koeman says he was left ‘devastated’ by Bartomeu’s arrest on Monday

‘I’m looking forward to the election next Sunday and hopefully the president we choose will be OK.’

Guardiola’s comments come after current Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman, who was hired by Bartomeu before he stepped down, said he was devastated by the news of his arrest and conceded that it had damaged the club’s reputation. 

‘When I heard the news I was devastated because I know Bartomeu and Grau well,’ Koeman said ahead of Barca’s Copa del Rey semi-final second leg at home to Sevilla, when they will be hoping to overturn a 2-0 deficit.

‘I feel bad for them, I had good moments with them in a short space of time and Bartomeu has always been an exceptional person to me.

‘It’s not good for the image of the club but we have to wait and see what happens (with the investigation).

‘I wasn’t here then so I can’t talk about it, we just have to focus on our job and in turning the tie around tomorrow.’

Koeman said he had no regrets in accepting the job as coach, despite the ongoing turmoil

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