Barcelona have been accused of publicly disgracing their superstar Lionel Messi, by not accompanying him to the court during his widely publicized tax fraud trials.
Image: Lionel Messi
There’s been accusations and counter accusations within the club’s management ranks, including Qatar Airways [an official sponsor] since the Argentine was slapped with a 12-month jail term alongside his father Jorge Messi.
Though the famous No. 10 and his father were granted an option of paying fines–with a chance for an appeal, former Barca President Joan Laporta has laid blames on his successor Josep Maria Bartomeu over the club’s handling of Messi’s court case.
Joan admits he’s disappointed at Barca’s lack of representations at the court while the trials lasted. He says the club didn’t do enough.
Worse still, the former president bemoans a degrading treatment from Qatar Airways who dared to lower the value of Messi’s sponsorship agreement in a renewed contract signed recently.
“The club has let the player down, the best player in history, the best player in the world. We have a President and a board that didn’t accompany him when he had to testify in court,” Laporta complained.
He continued in his chat on Catalan radio, Football Espana quotes Sport: “The sponsorship is a lie.
“In his electoral campaign he [Josep Maria Bartomeu] said he would sign a sponsor for more than €60m and this isn’t the best on the market.
“I don’t understand why they do this in this way and therefore there is always the shadow of suspicion, in my opinion, that they are paying less than what Barca should receive and also that some directors have business in Qatar…”