Emili Rousaud’s lawyers strike back: No legal arguments are in place

Barcelona's stadium, the Camp Nou, in October 2019 / OMAR HAWWASH/BLAUGRANAGRAM
Barcelona’s stadium, the Camp Nou, in October 2019 / OMAR HAWWASH/BLAUGRANAGRAM

Barcelona’s case against Emili Rousaud, promptly followed by the BarçaGate audit, continues to spark debate, with one of his lawyers recently speaking out.

The BarçaGate audit, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, colloquially known as PwC, was a result of I3 Ventures’ partnership with Barcelona. Through the partnership, posts were made to tarnish the image of some former Barcelona players, as well as put others in better light. These were allegedly approved by the club, as well as the contract with I3 Ventures allegedly having been made in fractional fashion, so it would not undergo the usual control procedures.

Several members of Barcelona’s board either stepped down or were demoted or even relieved of their duties, including the club’s now former institutional vice president, Emili Rousaud.

Rousaud was, alongside the club’s fourth vice president and treasurer Enrique Tombas, and board members Silvio Elías and Josep Pont, asked to step down from the board by Josep Bartomeu following a turbulent time in the club, as a result of the aforementioned situation.

The then institutional vice president was demoted, and has since resigned. He has spoken out about the situation several times, stating he never leaked anything to the press without briefing the club in advance. Rousaud also criticized the current board for its lack of ‘adequate credibility’ and took a dig at Bartomeu for demoting him in a manner that felt rather nonchalant to the now former institutional vice president.

The situation has evolved, with lawyers getting involved, and the club has put forth a lawsuit against Rousaud, who claimed that someone had their hand in the till.

According to SER Catalunya, the court has called for an act of reconciliation between the two parties: Rousaud and FC Barcelona, with his lawyers claiming that there is no legal ground to accuse Rousaud of slander. His lawyers believe that there are still doubts to resolve after the audit, which has been presented to the club’s board of directors.

One of his lawyers, Diego Artacho, spoke to SER Catalunya, where he expressed his opinion on the accusations against Rousaud.

“The complaint against Emili Rousaud does not make sense. Rousaud exposed some doubts that the audit now has shown are true. Contracts were split into fractions [that were] less than what should have been paid,” Artacho explained.

Víctor Font, a presidential candidate backed by his Sí al Futur project, has several times publicly called for the club to reveal the audit, and has even requested access to the audit, according to SER Catalunya. Per the same report, however, he has been denied access, but is adamant on seeing the report.

With a strange season influenced by a pandemic, the audit has certainly made times tough for Barcelona, and it remains to be seen what the future will hold following the cases at hand.

Barcelona’s next test on the pitch will be in the UEFA Champions League against Napoli, who will visit the Camp Nou on August 8, for the return fixture of their round of 16 tie with the Catalans. The first encounter between the two teams ended in a 1-1 draw, with Dries Mertens and Antoine Griezmann both being on the scoresheet.

Arturo Vidal is suspended for that encounter, and with Frenkie de Jong recently having returned from injury and admitting to ‘feeling better’ after the Catalans’ final league game against Deportivo Alavés, Barcelona do not seem to be short of midfielders for what will be a fiery encounter.