Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has resigned ahead of an expected vote of no confidence next month.
Bartomeu was heavily criticised by Gerard Pique and then Lionel Messi, who was furious that a summer exit from the Catalan club was blocked.
Bartomeu was due to face a vote in next month’s election before the announcement was made.
President Josep Maria Bartomeu announces the resignation of the FC Barcelona Board of Directors. pic.twitter.com/Xr9pBoUzHM
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 27, 2020
His fellow board members have also resigned from their positions.
"It's a thought-out, serene, informed decision" to resign, Bartomeu said in a televised speech.
The pressure began to mount against him in the last 12 months due to the club’s worsening finances and the team’s decline on the pitch, which came to a head with their 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in August.
Bartomeu had tried to convince the government to scrap the censure vote due to the coronavirus pandemic but they had given permission for the vote to go ahead as planned.
He called the government's decision irresponsible in his speech, while thanking the club and saying he could not have resigned earlier.
"The easiest thing after the Champions (League defeat) was to resign, but one had to take decisions amid an unprecedented global crisis," he said, adding that later on, in the wake of the Messi spat, he could not let the club be run by external, temporary figures.
"Who would have ensured that Messi stayed? Who would have hired a new coach?" said Bartomeu in the statement.