La Liga denies Barcelona relegation threat

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La Liga has denied that it threatened to relegate giants Barcelona to the second division if it swore a new president before depositing the required €125m bank guarantee.

Barcelona presidential candidate, Toni Freixa, claimed on Thursday that he and the two other presidential candidates, Joan Laporta and Victor Font, were told by then acting president Carles Tusquets ahead of the 7 March election what La Liga’s position was when it came to having the bank guarantee.

The bank guarantee, which is 15% of Barca’s budget, is a way of protecting the club against being run irresponsibly and has to be ratified by La Liga.

Freixa tweeted: “La Liga’s response, more specifically that of [its president] Javier Tebas, was ‘if you allow the swearing-in of the new president without depositing the bank guarantee, I will relegate Barca to the second division.’ That is what Carles Tusquets explained to all three candidates,”

Freixa, a lawyer by profession, also claimed he met with La Liga president Tebas in October to discuss the possibility of eliminating the rule of having the bank guarantee as it was introduced by the club “over 30 years ago when the club budget was a hundred times lower.”

La Liga has denied there was any contact between Tebas and Tusquets during the electoral period and said the only possible outcome that could have arisen had the president-elect not deposited the guarantee was for a repeat of the elections and not relegation.

The La Liga statement said: “The one contact made by La Liga [during that time] was with the legal services, who requested a legal report that was sent to the Electoral Board of FC Barcelona, in which there was no mention of the demotion to which Freixa refers to.

“Finally, La Liga wants to remember that, in the event that the newly elected president of a club does not present the guarantee, it is only possible from a legal standpoint to repeat elections and never demotion.”

Laporta, who was previously Barca president between 2003 and 2010, was sworn in on Wednesday as Barca’s 42nd president after he and his executive board secured the required bank guarantee.

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By Ofhani Munyai

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