Ever since it emerged that FC Barcelona contracted I3Ventures, a company which controlled various accounts that attacked journalists, media outlets and presidential rivals, there's been a lot of outrage from the fan base. Conveniently referred to as 'Barçagate', Victor Font gave his opinion on matters to SPORT in an interview.
Since when were you aware that these 'ghost accounts' existed and were used to attack you personally?
A few years ago. They were very visible because it was always the same accounts. They all responded at the same time with the same arguments. They were coordinated.
Did you ever imagine that a company working for FC Barcelona would be behind them?
Absolutely. Even after it was revealed by Cadena SER, it's still to this day unexplainable. I have mixed feelings on the matter. I'm surprised, angry and disappointed.
What do you think the goal was for these tactics? To discredit you as a person?
It's very hard for me to find an explanation. We've spent a long time working on a project for the future of FC Barcelona, not just two months or even a year, more than six (years). We've always done it constructively. We've never gone against someone else, not the current president or his board.
It's clear they wanted to devalue our project. They even created opinions about theories which weren't true. They created fake news about us.
So you're confirming that the only person behind Victor Font's candidacy is Victor Font?
We are only a group of season ticket holders which, in this case, is led by me, a person who comes from Granollers and season ticket holder at FC Barcelona. We represent a project that wants to fulfil the needs of the many supporters who share our vision of the club. There's nothing more than that. Other finer aspects like talent and ideologies might be difficult but we have one common goal: a vision of what Barça should be in the future.
When you found out that a company working for FC Barcelona was behind these accounts, how did you feel?
I was in a total state of shock, believe me. It felt like vertigo. I asked myself: What is this? You hear and see strange things but when it directly effects you, there's an element of surprise.
Do you believe it's essential FC Barcelona have these kinds of companies working for them?
For the type of services which have been revealed, no. One thing is to monitor what's happening on social media, finding what is necessary, and another is paying for services to attack others, whether they are employees, players or other season ticket holders. We are all part of this club. The enemy is elsewhere, in Madrid, in Europe..
Have you considered taking legal action?
No. First, we need to see what really happened. We know what Cadena SER and El Pais have said. Now we need to hear the club's explanation.
Isn't what Bartomeu said enough?
No. He gave a couple of very generic explanations and that isn't enough. For me, it's urgent and vital that Bartomeu holds a press conference and answers all the questions he's asked to clear up this situation. It's embarrassing. You also need to realise more claims have been made since his initial response.
The club has laid the blame with Jaume Masferrer. What do you think about that?
It's positive that they are making decisions, although far too late, because the club only reacted after being put under pressure by a group of directors. Either way, this person has only been pushed aside momentarily. I believe that over time he'll return to the same role and that isn't the way to deal with such serious matters.
Do you think it's enough that the club has ordered an internal audit to see what happened?
I believe it's the right thing to do and we are looking forward to see the results of this audit. I hope it explains things in a clear and transparent way and is fully detailed. I don't understand these practices and less so when it's the season ticket holders who are footing the bill.
Do you think Bartomeu should have stepped down?
If in the end it's shown that the president was aware of everything and allowed it, it's cause for him to step down immediately.
In El Pais' latest investigation, it said you were named 420 times by these fake accounts.
If it was once that it's already too much. It isn't an honour to be named the most attacked person. I asked myself again: "What has 'Si al futur' done for them to attack us this way?"
What do you think about a group of directors asking for explanations from Bartomeu?
It shows that these directors didn't know about it and it's also their responsibility to do this.
Do you believe the contract Barça signed with I3Ventures isn't common in the current market?
As a service to monitor social media activity, signing a contract worth close to 200,000 annually is absolutely uncommon. It's 15 or 20 times more expensive than people pay for these types of services. And these contracts haven't been put to the board members so someone needs to explain how this could happen.
What do you think Barça's reputation is right now?
The sadness all of us culés feel is to see the image of our club deteriorating for the bad practice and poor decisions it's made. We need to escape this situation we are currently in. We need to recuperate the prestige of this club.