Skip to main content

Barcelona to investigate spying claims but admit $4 million spent on 'espionage'

March 5, 2013 -- Updated 2022 GMT (0422 HKT)
Barcelona spokesman Toni Freixa said the Catalan giants would be investigating the allegations it spied on its own players.
Barcelona spokesman Toni Freixa said the Catalan giants would be investigating the allegations it spied on its own players.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Barcelona confirms it spent $4 million on "espionage" from 2008-2010
  • Money went to two detective agencies in Spain
  • Barca launch internal investigation to determine "who was spied on and why"
  • Since coach Tito Vilanova underwent cancer treatment results have been indifferent

(CNN) -- Barcelona announced an internal investigation Tuesday after reports in Spain claimed that the club had commissioned detective agencies to spy on a number of their star players.

The Catalan giants confirmed on their official website that the club spent a total of 3.1 million euros ($4.04 million) on "espionage" between 2008 and 2010.

The money went to the now defunct Metodo 3 agency and another company called the Intelligence Bureau and Cyber Experience.

Barcelona said that "legal action will be taken to preserve the image of the club, the privacy of its employees and the legacy of the institution."

CNN FC: Has Barcelona's golden era ended?
Mendieta: Barca, Real out in front

Spokeman Toni Freixa added: "FC Barcelona wants to know 'who was spied on and why.' "

The alleged activities took place under the presidency of Joan Laporta, who was at the helm from 2003-2010, one of the most successful spells for the famous Spanish club.

Current president Sandro Rosell, a fierce critic of Laporta, succeeded him in June 2010, winning 60% of a vote among Barcelona club members.

The relationship between the two has remained cool since Rosell was elected, but on the pitch under former coach Pep Guardiola and his successor Tito Vilanova, the triumphs have continued.

Reports on the Spanish website El Confidencial, claimed Metodo 3 trailed defender Gerard Pique and his pop star wife Shakira in 2010 -- following them to a concert to log their activities.

Former stars Samuel Eto'o and Brazil's Ronaldinho were also believed to have been monitored in the past.

Blog: Will Guardiola return to Barcelona?

The allegations come as Barcelona has suffered a mini slump in form, twice losing to rivals Real Madrid and having to cope with the absence of Vilanova, who is battling cancer.

How did Allegri beat Barca?
FC Barcelona: More than social media

Rosell told the official website that the board had "absolute confidence" in Vilanova and were supporting him as he undergoes chemotherapy and radiotherapy in New York.

"His recovery is our priority and I'd consider this season a success if he fully recovers from his illness. He will not leave even if it costs us every single title.

"He's encouraged, and he's eager to return."

A tentative return date of the end of March has been set by the Spanish league leaders, who are trailing AC Milan 2-0 from the away leg of their Champions League last 16 tie, another disappointing recent defeat.

"In the event that Barca defeat AC Milan, the manager could be on the bench for the away leg of the Champions League quarter finals," Rosell told gathered reporters.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is provoking huge media interest and the hungry attention of Europe's top clubs.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT