Barcelona president Bartomeu: It is false that we paid to discredit anyone

Bartomeu confirmed the contract with I3 Ventures has now been terminated

La empresa I3 Ventures no quiere hacer declaraciones sobre los ataques a los jugadores | SPORT.es

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has doubled down on claims the club were involved in social media posts smearing current players, club legends and club members. 

Juan Manuel Díaz

@JuanmaDiaz65

SER Catalunya reported on Monday that Barça had hired a company to carry out their dirty work, but the Catalan club responded by saying that was false. 

In a statement, they said they had contracted a company -- I3 Ventures -- but only with the aim of monitoring social media activity related to the club. 

However. SER later provided proof that I3 were behind various accounts discrediting people related to the club -- including Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Victor Font -- leading Bartomeu to confirm on Monday that he had rescinded the contract with the company. 

"Yes, it is true that in 2017 we contracted a service for the monitoring of social media with the aim of analysing both positive and negative messages about the club," the president said at the XIV Premio internacional de Periodismo Manuel Vázquez Montalbán on Tuesday.

"It's something which the majority of clubs and corporations do. We did not contract a service to discredit anyone. 

"Given the confirmation that the social media accounts were linked to that company which we were working with, we have given instructions -- me, personally -- to rescind the contract with that company. 

"Have no doubt about it: Barca did not contract a service to smear players, ex-players, politicians, directors, presidential candidates or ex-presidents. It is completely false. We will defend ourselves by whatever means necessary and will go after anyone that falsely accuses us." 

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