BARCELONA: Sandro Rosell blamed threats to his family rather than any of the issues surrounding his presidency, for his decision to step down from command at Spanish champions and league leaders Barcelona writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

After an emergency board meeting, hastily summoned earlier in the day, the 49-year-old marketing specialist explained why he was abandoned the leadership of one of the world’s most successful clubs both on and off the pitch.

With his wife and brother in the press conference audience, Rosell said: “For some time my family and I have suffered threats and attacks that have made me wonder how long I could continue endangering my family.”

He insisted that nothing illicit had been involved in the club record purchase of Neymar last year and expressed full confidence in successor Josep Bartomeu and the board.

‘Great success’

Rosell said: “In recent days an unfair and reckless accusation of misappropriation has resulted in a lawsuit against me in the Audiencia Nacional. From the beginning I have said that the signing of Neymar Junior has been correct and his signing has caused despair and envy in some of our adversaries.

“The right of the club members to be informed needs to be compatible with the defence of the club and confidentiality of certain matters and facts. This confidentiality is essential in the world of football because otherwise the club could be damaged.

“The board of directors is a team and this team leads a project that has brought the club great success. I don’t want unfair attacks to negatively affect their management or the image of the club. This is why I think my time here has come to an end.

“Now, in accordance with the club’s statutes, I have presented my irrevocable resignation of the presidency of FC Barcelona to the board of directors.

“It has been an honour to serve the Barcelonistas. It’s been a privilege to be the president of FC Barcelona.”

“Josep Maria Bartomeu will take over the presidency immediately and through to the end of the mandate in 2016. It has been an honour to serve FC Barcelona. I wish to thank all the players and coaches and managers who have accompanied me on this journey and wish the new president every success.”

Bartomeu wrapped up the press conference with words of thanks and a determination to see through the next two years.

He said: “It has been an honour working with you [Sandro] all these years . . . my first message as president is to announce that our project will continue until 2016.”

He added that one of the most projects will be the redevelopment of Barcelona’s Cap Nou, plans for which are due to be submitted to a members’ referendum later this year.