From left, Joan Laporta, Víctor Font and Toni Freixa.Alejandro García / EFE
At 23.30 this Sunday the announcement of the name of the 42nd president in the 121-year history of Barça is expected , 131 days after the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu , who refused to face a vote of no confidence promoted by 19,380 members after blaming the Government of the Generalitat for their departure and before Barçagate exploded. Until October 27, the president justified his resignation by pressures sometimes coming from Catalonia – expressed in the process – and sometimes from Madrid – synthesized in the victimhood -, after attempting a transfer of powers to the letter that ended on the 21 -March 22
Elections have been brought forward two weeks in accordance with Bartomeu's plans, or have been delayed more than a month if the wishes of the Manager are met, which scheduled the vote for January 24, a date that was postponed due to mobility restrictions caused by covid-19. Now there is no going back and after the different agents have acted out of time, the Barça members will vote this Sunday from 09:00 to 21:00 in six different venues: Barcelona (Camp Nou and Palau Blaugrana), Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, Tortosa and Andorra.
The summoned partners are 110,290: 102,759 residents in Catalonia (93%), 3,978 in the rest of Spain (4%) and 3,553 (3%) in the world. It happens that 20,663 have already voted by mail (90% of the 28,811 who registered) and therefore there are 87,479 left to do so in person in very particular circumstances due to the district confinement (it would affect 5,000 members) and due to the conditions in which they will have to proceed before the polls due to the pandemic: only the voter will be able to access the precinct and, therefore, the usual family and popular festival that was repeated in the Camp Nou elections will not take place.
The particularities of the electoral process There are so many that prudence is imposed around the forecasts, and more if the number of undecided (around 35,000) is taken into account, the scope of participation (the highest reached 53.79% in 2003, when Joan won Laporta ), the average age of the voter (58 years, 27% women) and the result of the debate held on TV-3, which insisted on centering the discussion around voting for or against Laporta
Facing the debt
The former president it was e he candidate who collected the most signatures and the one who has set the tone for a very long, innocuous campaign with few peaks, presided over in any case by the winks of Laporta himself. He has not made mistakes and has grown in the last section after marking the profile with the Bernabéu banner. "You want to see you again," read a canvas that summarizes an ideology that also includes his footballing and political determination " Ho tornarem a fer" ("We will do it again"), independentist as he is and friend of Carles Puigdemont.
None of the characters in play are strangers to Laporta. The critical economic situation of the club (1,173 million debt, 730 net) and the lack of a sports plan have led to the discarding of signings ( Mbappé and Haaland sounded warmly in the mouth of Toni Freixa ), and therefore the names shuffled for each Applicants who are close to or known to him: Xavi Hernández and Jordi Cruyff, headliners for Víctor Font ; Lluís Carreras, sports director of Freixa; Eric García, an ex-Azulgrana center-back proposed and finally ruled out as a winter signing from City; and Messi.
The continuity of Messi
The continuity of the captain is one of the cards to be exploited after there is no possibility of launching a decoy like Beckham's. Koeman is not disputed either. And the figure of the sports director remains in the background because it is known that Laporta, Font and even Freixa started in Barcelona from the player Johan Cruyff. All three, after all, are in some way part of the candidacy that reached the presidency in 2003 after the failed reign of Joan Gaspart as successor to Josep Luís Núñez (1978-2000).
Freixa survived the competition to form the Continuing candidacy and has tried to metabolize the legacy of the last presidents to border Font and be the alternative to Laporta. Font appeals to change from a very professional candidacy and Laporta is postulated as the best solution from conventionality and presidentialism because he knows the world of football from his experience (2003-2010).
No one has explained very well how the debt will be dealt with, or if it will be possible to play at the Camp Nou when the financing of Espai Barça is agreed, after the political, media and business powers, as well as the assets of the club, have kept silent in the campaign, the Barça fans convinced that the drift will end with the election of the president who, as Bartomeu's replacement, will dismantle Barçagate and free Messi
Three candidates with experience in the elections
The three candidates for the presidency of Barcelona have election experience. Joan Laporta (Barcelona, 58 years old). Partner number 13,342. Validated signatures to present your candidacy: 9,625. He is a lawyer and businessman. He ran alongside Lluís Bassat in the candidacy for the presidency in 2000. He won the elections in 2003 and was president until 2010. He ran for the elections in 2015, but was surpassed by Josep Maria Bartomeu. Victor Font (Granollers, 48 years old) . Barça partner 69,970. Validated signatures to present your candidacy: 4,431. He is a businessman and founding shareholder of the newspaper Ara. In 2010 he was part of Marc Ingla's candidacy and in 2003 he was Laporta's advisor with Ferran Soriano and Ingla.Toni Freixa (Barcelona, 52 years old). Barça partner number 54,786. Validated signatures to present your candidacy: 2,634. Is lawyer. He was part of the advisory council of Laporta between 2003 and 2005, and director of the boards of Sandro Rosell and Bartomeu from 2010 to 2015. That year he ran for the presidential elections and came in fourth place behind Bartomeu, Laporta and Benedito .