Laporta appeals to his successful experience to return to the box
Font hopes to capture the undecided vote to win in his premiere as electoral leader
Freixa, who declares himself a ‘nuñista’ and ‘cruyffista’ at the same time, hopes to give the big surprise
The mandate of the new leader will extend until the summer of 2026
The winner must present a guarantee of 125 million before assuming office
They were together in 2003 and now, almost two decades later, they are fighting to become the 42nd president of Barça’s 121-year history today. Fight Joan Laporta, who led that project that activated the virtuous circle. Fight Victor Fuente, then a volunteer in that Laportian candidacy, now a leader in his first electoral campaign. Fight too Toni Freixa, who attends his second elections after finishing fourth and last in 2015 (gathered 1,750 votes), swept by Bartholomew (25,823), which also beat Laporta (15,615) almost six years ago. The winner will have one term, which will expire in the summer of 2026.
The three candidates have coincided in underlining the historical and decisive component of these elections for the future of the club. Barça is living drowned by a deep economic crisis (the debt is 1,173 million and of them 730 in the short term), together with a delicate sporting situation, pending the future of Messi (you can go for free in June) and about to to complete the team its second year in white if it does not win the Cup or it is hooked to the League since the Champions, after the 1-4 of Paris SG, already seems utopian.
Around 11:30 p.m. tonight, the club plans to communicate the name of the new president
The destructive landscape that plagues a lonely old man, due to the pandemic, Camp Nou further complicates the first days of the new president’s term, who is elected tonight. His name will be known around 11:30 p.m. And once he is elected, he will have 10 days to present a guarantee of 125 million euros, an essential requirement to start leading the club.
Not only will he have to renegotiate the debt to have immediate liquidity, but he will also have to sign the agreement left by Bartomeu with Goldman Sachs so that the cranes to build the new and necessary temple will enter. Everything is new in a Barça that has aged so badly that even Messi, the beacon that has sustained it as the common thread of the best time in its history, wanted to leave last summer.
The pandemic has caused Barça’s delicate economic crisis, which lived beyond its means, especially since Neymar’s departure for PSG (summer 2017), to be a poisoned candy for Bartomeu’s successor. Inject money into the box, renew the squad and also rebuild the ethical and moral image of the club, after the Barçagate scandal, which caused the Mossos D’Esquadra to enter the Camp Nou offices last Monday. And it led to the arrest of Bartomeu and his trusted advisor, Jaume Masferrer, who spent a night in the dungeon. The decline experienced by Barça, portrayed in Bayern’s cruel 2-8 in Lisbon, has caused an apocalyptic landscape.
20,633 members have already exercised their right to vote by mail, which is 43% of those who voted in 2015
In this scenario, the eighth democratic elections in the club’s history will be held today for 12 hours (the polls will open at nine in the morning and close at nine at night), with universal suffrage. Since 1978, where Núñez triumphed, remaining in power until 2000, until 2021, where there is no trace of a continuation candidate, all the directors of Bartomeu burned, due to his chaotic and turbulent mandate.
A total of 110,920 members are summoned, but 20,633 have already exercised their right to vote by mail (43% of those who voted in 2015). It is one of the novelties together with six decentralized venues (Camp Nou and Palau Blaugrana in Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, Tortosa and Andorra) to facilitate participation in the midst of the pandemic.
With strict anti-Covid measures, the club has recommended that each member go in person (there are 87,479) to any venue a certain time slot to disperse the influx. After a long electoral campaign, one of the longest because the elections were supposed to take place on January 24, but were postponed due to the coronavirus, the three candidates took advantage of their only day off yesterday since Bartomeu resigned on October 27.
Laporta made the aperitif on a terrace in Barcelona, Freixa ran and secluded herself with her family, while Font took the bicycle to ride around Granollers
Laporta went to a terrace in the center of Barcelona with Álex Santos, its communication manager, and Xavier Arbós, his partner in the law firm that both have run for years. Font, for his part, took the bicycle in Granollers with his wife, both wearing red sweatshirts from the NGO Open Arms, the same one although of a different color that Guardiola has been wearing for months. The City manager’s is gray.
Freixa, who had already said in the TV-3 debate that she would go running, as she usually does, secluded herself with her family, like the other two candidates. The exportavoz of the Rosell board took advantage of to send a message on social networks asking that they see that television debate again, the last of a strenuous campaign.
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Laporta’s canvas at the Bernabéu emotionally governed the campaign together with the eloquent silence of Xavi
A pulse between the experience (“I already did it in 2003”, repeated Laporta over and over again), the future (“foc nou”, proclaimed Font) and the connection with the partner that Freixa presumes. “You can be a Nuñista and a Cruyffista at the same time. Of course it is compatible.” He had influential silences from club assets like Xavi, dominated by the appearance of the gigantic Laporta canvas next to the Bernabéu (‘You want to see you again’), which gave him the emotional control of a campaign in which Sandro Rosell did not intervene. “I will try to influence the elections,” he said in June 2020, before the descent into the catacombs of Barça, which today chooses the president of the reconstruction.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.