Laporta advances in bid to reclaim Barca presidency amid board civil war

The former Blaugrana chief was beaten by Josep Bartomeu at the polls in 2015, but believes he is the man to fix the club’s problems

Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has thrown his hat into the ring to wrest the office off beleaguered incumbent Josep Bartomeu. 

Bartomeu came under renewed pressure last week when six members of the club board, including vice-president Emili Rousaud, handed in their resignation. 

The group cited the ‘Barcagate’ social media scandal as evidence of mismanagement by Bartomeu, while Rousaud went further in suggesting that Blaugrana funds had been handled in an illicit manner. 

Laporta oversaw the running of the club for seven years between 2003 and 2010, a term that coincided with the building of what has gone down as arguably the best Barcelona side in history under the watch of Pep Guardiola. 

And he is now considering a fresh challenge for the presidency, affirming that the club’s finances are of particular concern. 

“This is a project that has me very excited, I am gathering together people I trust because we have to think hard about how to revert the economic situation,” he told GOL’s YouTube channel in an interview screened on Friday. 

“The club is in a very delicate situation, that of €3 billion (Barca’s current budget including revenue, outgoings and debt) and it is important to present a believable, realistic proposal and offer a sporting project that garners enthusiasm and improves our institutional image. 

“I am excited about coming back, but I have room to decide still.” 

“I am more enthusiastic about turning around the club’s delicate economic situation with a proposal based on guarantees, I have advanced in this and I am very hopeful.” 

While Laporta is working hard on a prospective challenge, he does not agree with bringing forward presidential elections amid the current crisis. 

“The elections should take place as scheduled, in July 2021,” he added. 

“I think those who are there right now need to keep going, if they walk away now the entirety of the situation which has caused the debt with which they are now faced will become apparent.” 

Bartomeu has been in charge of Barcelona since 2014, when he took over from Sandro Rosell due to his resignation over the so-called ‘Neymar case’, which led to criminal charges of tax fraud being filed. 

There is no love lost between the sitting president and Laporta, who first challenged his tenure in the club’s last elections in 2015 only to lose by a comfortable margin.