Barcelona issued a statement on Monday to deny a report that they had hired a company to promote president Josep Maria Bartomeu and discredit players including Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique.
Cadena Ser programme Què T’hi Jugues‘ reported that Barcelona hired the firm ‘I3 Ventures’ to create a positive image of Bartomeu online.
The company also reportedly used social media to have a pop at players and ex-players including Messi, Pique, Xavi, Carles Puyol and Pep Guardiola.
⚠️ NOTÍCIA⚠️— Què T'hi Jugues (@QueThiJugues) February 17, 2020
INVESTIGACIÓ de @LaLlotja
El Barça treballa amb una empresa que crea estats d'opinió a xarxes per:
✅ PROTEGIR la reputació de Bartomeu i la junta
⛔ EROSIONAR la imatge d'exjugadors, candidats, polítics, entitats i més
The report highlights criticism of Pique’s involvement with the Davis Cup and Messi’s failure to agree a new contract with the club as examples.
Barcelona have hit back by issuing a strongly-worded statement denying the report:
“[FC Barcelona] Roundly deny any relationship, and furthermore, the contracting of services linked to social media accounts that have broadcast negative or disparaging messages related to any person, entity or organisation that may be, or have been, related to the Club.”
Source | FC Barcelona
The club sign off the statement by saying they “demand an immediate rectification of the information published and reserves the right to exercise legal action against those who continue to implicate the Club in such practices.”
The news sees Barcelona making headlines for all the wrong reasons yet again and follows a chaotic few weeks that have seen Ernesto Valverde sacked, Ousmane Dembele ruled out for six months and Messi engaged in a public spat with Eric Abidal.