Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu called a press conference on Monday to discuss, among other things, the “complimentary tax declaration” of 11 million pounds ($18.3 million) that the club paid to the Spanish tax authorities last month in the wake of the Neymar transfer scandal. BBC pundit David Bond points out that despite the tax payment and despite coming clean about the various payments made to Neymar’s family, as well as the resignation of former President Sandro Rosell, who organized the deal, the problem just won’t seem to go away. And to make matters worse, Barca’s recent league form has been poor, losing two of its last three games, and having fallen to third in the La Liga standings.
During the press conference, Bartomeu acknowledged the recent damage to the club’s reputation. "It's our obligation to explain to everybody that we did everything in the proper way," he said, regarding the Neymar transfer. "If somebody thinks that there is damage to the name of Barcelona then there is damage to be repaired. It's embarrassing because we think we are right.”
Yet if there was no wrongdoing, why pay the Spanish tax authorities now? "We paid because of prudence and because there is a possible different interpretation,” Bartomeu said, adding that with the emergence of clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, it has become harder for member-owned clubs like Barca to compete in the international transfer market. "Of course we are a very big club. We are the biggest club in the world but when we compete with [the] unlimited resources [of the likes of City and PSG] we have to find other ways, other strategies."