FC Barcelona were left reeling today as news emerged that the club will be investigated for "misappropriation of funds" after their €57 million signing of Brazilian superstar, Neymar. The news will not come as a huge surprise to Culés as Neymar's transfer has always been shrouded in mystery, although one must question not only the time, but the motive of this development.
The case after all was instigated by a club member, a socio named Jordi Cases who felt aggrieved after Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell denied his request for further information about the financial details surrounding the transfer. Given that socios do not derive any financial benefit from membership of the club, it's somewhat difficult to understand just why this particular individual was so concerned about this alleged misappropriation of funds.
Evidently, the transfer itself has not endangered the club's existence off the field, while few could disagree that Neymar has made a profound impact on the field. Regardless of where and to whom the money was supplied, Barcelona have almost certainly benefitted from the deal; while perhaps more pertinently, Neymar's arrival dealt a direct blow to our bitterest rivals. Instead of rocking up at Stamford Bridge, at the Allianz Arena, or the Bernabeu, Neymar was unveiled in front of a record number of supporters at the Camp Nou.
Despite his well rehearsed declarations since signing, it'd be naive to suggest that money didn't at least factor into his decision. And if we are really going to discuss the topic of misappropriating funds, then why does Joan Laporta get a free pass?
For years the former Barça president underplayed losses and overestimated revenues in the club's accounts; so much so that an external audit found that the club actually recorded a loss in excess of €77 million in 2010, despite Laporta's accounts displaying a €11 million profit.
The Barça president reportedly authorised and funded espionage programs to monitor the activities of his players and fellow board members, while it's no secret that expenses were drastically higher in the Laporta era compared to the present day.
Where were the concerned socios when Laporta was reportedly spending over €5 million a year on private jets and in excess of €550,000 on vol-au-vents?
Whether these allegations are truthful or not remains to be seen; but does it really matter? Regardless of the outcome, FC Barcelona's reputation has already taken a hit, while the impact of these allegations on Neymar's performance could also strike a devastating blow to Barça's title aspirations.
But hey, at least these allegations bring us one step closer to a return for Joan Laporta and his vol-au-vents...