Having survived an attempt to unseat him before in the year, the Blaugrana chief is now set on revenge towards his alleged ousters.
Tensions at Camp Nou have reached a new high as Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu prepares a wholesale cull in the boardroom, which is set to be resisted with the aid of senior club figures.
Bartomeu, who has been in charge of the Spanish giants since July 2015, has found his position under extreme pressure this season following a collection of errors.
The president’s perceived mishandling of the situation around coach Ernesto Valverde and his abrupt sacking in January without a replacement lined up was followed by the club’s failure to improve in the same transfer period, with Barca compelled to take advantage of a Liga loophole in order to sign Martin Braithwaite from Leganes after the window had shut when Ousmane Dembele suffered injury.
An embarrassing, mysterious scandal over the alleged use of social media companies to sully Barca’s very own players followed, whilst most recently Lionel Messi slammed the board for suggesting that the Catalan squad was not inclined to take a 70 per cent pay discount at some point of the coronavirus pandemic.
Such errors have seen critical voices to Bartomeu’s administration grow on the Blaugrana board; now the president is set to respond by disposing of those detractors.
Goal has learned that Bartomeu is planning an overhaul of his administration team and has given the green light to overhauling his board. Several members have been informed that they will have no part to play in the new-look team of directors, such as Emili Rousaud, who had been tipped as the president’s favoured successor in the post.
As currently as January, Rousaud had been confirmed as Barcelona’s vice-president. Bartomeu, however, has cut ties with the official and wants him out, prompting the discarded director to launch sturdy criticisms of his regime.
“Bartomeu told me he wanted to revamp the board and he was annoyed with certain directors, myself included,” he explained to Cadena SER on Wednesday.
“He told me that there had been leaks which upset the players and that I was casting doubt on the board’s work. I told Bartomeu that I talk to the press however I do not cause leaks, and I have in no way criticised the players.
“The best thing to do would be to speak face to face once the state of emergency has passed, I told him to give me time to think to answer him properly… however I suppose it is cowardly to do this over the phone and without warning.”
Rousaud has already made it clear that he will not willingly resign his post, setting the stage for every other boardroom battle of wills towards the unpopular chief.
Bartomeu has already survived one attempt to dethrone him in 2020, when an impromptu board meeting following the social media scandal tried to persuade him to resign his post and call early elections.
Such a move would have left Rousaud as the top candidate to take over but, after seeing off that attack, revenge is now on the cards for the Barca president, with his former dauphin first on the list. For his part Rousaud insists that early elections and not resignation was the intention of the meeting, including to Cadena SER “that was in all likelihood most convenient, most of us leaned towards that alternative but nothing happened.”