News : FC Barcelona: Joan Laporta elected to succeed Josep Bartomeu
Joan Laporta has been elected President of FC Barcelona for the second time. As the 26-time Spanish football champion announced on Sunday evening, the 58-year-old lawyer was after 80 percent of the votes counted, unattainable in front of his opponents Victor Font and Toni Freixa. The losing applicants congratulated Laporta, who had already headed the club from 2003 to 2010, in front of the cameras.
On Sunday lunchtime, the six-time world footballer Lionel Messi submitted his ballot paper accompanied by his son Thiago. Like Messi, his teammates Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto and Riqui Puig as well as former Barça coach Luis Enrique went to the ballot box.
Laporta succeeds Josep Maria Bartomeu, who resigned last October. Bartomeu came under pressure due to the “Barçagate” affair and finally left office: The former club president is said to have commissioned a social media campaign against his club’s internal opponents, including former and current club greats such as Pep Guardiola , Carles Puyol or Lionel Messi had been discredited. At the beginning of the week there had been a raid on the club’s premises as part of the “Barçagate” investigation. Bartomeu himself was arrested on Tuesday but was released on Wednesday.
Beyond the internal squabbles, Laporta is faced with a daunting task. Barcelona are plagued by debts of 488 million euros, and in terms of sport, FC Barcelona lag behind their own claims. In addition, the fans are driven by the future of superstar Messi, whose contract is expiring. Laporta spoke of “the most important choice in the history of Barça”.