Barcelona president Sandro Rosell resigns

Decision comes after lawsuit alleges Rosell misappropriated funds from the signing of striker Neymar

Sandro Rosell during the press conference announcing his resgination as FC Barcelona president today.  Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Sandro Rosell during the press conference announcing his resgination as FC Barcelona president today. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Thu, Jan 23, 2014, 22:00

Sandro Rosell has resigned as president of Barcelona with immediate effect.

Rosell made the announcement at a press conference tonight following an extraordinary board meeting.

Rosell also named vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu as his successor as president until 2016.

The decision comes after Spanish national court judge Pablo Ruz this week accepted a lawsuit that alleges Rosell misappropriated funds from the signing of striker Neymar from Santos last June.

Barcelona club member Jordi Cases has alleged that the amount paid was more than the €57 million euro fee reported at the time.

Explaining his decision to step down, Rosell said: “In recent days an unfair and reckless accusation of misappropriation has resulted in a lawsuit against me in the Audiencia Nacional.

“The board of directors is a team. And this team leads a project that has brought the club great success.

“ I don’t want unfair attacks to negatively affect their management or the image of the club.

“This is why I think my time here has come to an end.”

Now, in accordance with the club’s statutes, I have presented my irrevocable resignation of the presidency of FC Barcelona to the board of directors.”

The 49-year-old took over as Barca president in the summer of 2010 after winning a landslide vote to succeed Joan Laporta.

Rosell, who had been vice-president under Laporta before resigning in 2005, scooped 61.34 per cent of a record turn-out of 57,088 voters. Agusti Benedito came second, with just 14.09 per cent of the vote followed by Marc Ingla (12.29 per cent) and Jaume Ferrer (10.80 per cent).

During Rosell’s presidency, Barca have won two Primera Division titles, the Champions League, the Copa del Rey, the Fifa Club World Cup, the Uefa Super Cup and three Spanish Supercopas.

Rosell added: “In these four years we have enjoyed and suffered because we are Barcelonistas, just as many generations of Blaugranas have enjoyed and suffered for more than a century.

“In all of these years we have seen that our successes are the result of our victories on the pitch and overcoming innumerable obstacles off the pitch: political, external and, what’s worse, at times the pressure has come from our own environment.

“It has been an honour to serve the Barcelonistas. It’s been a privilege to be the president of FC Barcelona.”

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