Barcelona To Sue Laporta
To many fans of Barcelona Football Club, Joan Laporta is a name synonymous with success. The former club president was the helmsman of the Barca ship from 2003 until 30th June 2010, during which time they won four La Liga titles and two Champions' Leagues, most recently in 2008/09, a year in which they recorded a historic treble (the third trophy was the domestic Copa del Rey).
However it seems new president, and former understudy to Laporta, Sandro Rosell is determined to see the hero turned villain. One of his first acts as incoming president of Barcelona FC was to hire blue chip accountancy firm KPMG to conduct a full audit of the club's accounts, and far from discovering an 11 million euro profit, as Laporta had claimed, they discovered a post-tax loss of 77.1 million euros for the 2009-10 season. Ouch.
After a vote by Barca members' representatives at the first general assembly of the Rosell reign, the decision was made on Saturday to call the last board into account via the courts about the poor state of the team's finances. (The vote was narrowly passed 486 to 439 — with 113 abstentions, including Rosell himself). In particular Laporta and his team will be asked to explain the 8 million euros paid to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's agent in the 46 million euro move from AC Milan, as well as 318,000 euros in sundry payments, including 53,000 euros spent by one of Laporta's bodyguards using a club credit card (mostly in restaurants, nightclubs and bars according to KPMG).
It remains to be seen if this acrimony off the field will affect results on it. On Saturday night however Barcelona managed to overturn a 1-0 deficit against an impressive Valencia outfit to win the game 2-1 at Camp Nou Stadium. An important victory which sees them sitting now in second place in La Liga, just one point behind arch-rivals Real Madrid.