Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu was reportedly a key figure in the early days of the Super League planning. Since then replaced by Joan Laporta, Bartomeu’s focus on profits compels us to ask a curious question. What if Bartomeu was around for Super League?
While in charge of Barcelona, Bartomeu may have been too invested in profits…and profits alone. Team performance, coaches and players’ cohesion, and upholding the club’s cultural legend and values all took a backseat with him.
The reasons behind his resignation could be the horrendous season last term and Lionel Messi’s desire to leave the club.
Indeed, Barca finished second in La Liga. They were also humiliated in the Champions League quarter-final in August by Bayern Munich, going down 8-2.
Plus, Messi didn’t leave the club, but only because they enforced his release clause over any interested clubs.
So, fans and critics alike were right in accusing Bartomeu of being oriented only toward accumulating money.
Super League Leader
Bartomeu led Super League talks for several years during his time with the club, Goal has revealed.
Several of football’s elite clubs began discussions of a breakaway competition featuring the “top teams” globally around 2015-16.
But if not for Bartomeu, these plans would never have solidified. He collaborated with Andrea Agnelli (Juventus president), Florentino Perez (Real Madrid’s) and ECA president, to strategize the competition into reality.
Once the plan was finalised in 2020, Bartomeu was prepared to share it with the board of directors. Even as his own reign neared a chaotic end, he thus gave conception to the breakaway league.
He finally unveiled the plan– without committing Barcelona to it- on the day he resigned.
What If Bartomeu Was Around for Super League?
Now, Bartomeu’s successor as Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, has still not withdrawn the club even as six teams will withdraw.
Barcelona, despite the immense backlash in just two days after the announcement, still believe in the Super League.
However, we believe that Bartomeu would have gone beyond committing to the project till the very end. Under his leadership, a tighter rein would bound the clubs now wishing to withdraw.
After all, this was Bartomeu’s brainchild. And there is already evidence that nothing would stop him from deriving profits for (or rather, from) Barcelona.
Moreover, he- and the pandemic- left Barcelona in the burgeoning debt that they are currently struggling to climb out of. As president, he would have ensured he secures the £3.5bn payouts even if it meant compelling other clubs to stay.
We think his mind for profit would have carried through the Super League proposal into reality. Whether that would have been a desirable or undesirable eventuality is for readers to decide.