SAN FRANCISCO, January 12, (THEWILL) – Months after expressing their interests for the top job at Barcelona club, the Barcelona presidential election will be a tussle among these four men: Joan Laporta, Victor Font, Toni Freixa and Emili Rousaud.
These four, seeking to occupy the position vacated by former president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, scaled the requirement of collecting over 2,250 signatures of support. They will be the only contestants for club elections that will hold on January 24. Of the aforementioned quartet, it was Laporta who emerged well out in front of the rest.
The 58-year-old, who was president at Camp Nou between 2003 and 2010, tallied up a whopping 10,257 signatures. In the build-up to a club election, that record is second only to Sandro Rosell’s in 2010.
This is an indication of Laporta’s chances because it makes him the favourite to win as none of the others came close to half of his total. Font gathered the next highest with 4,710, Freixa managed 2,821 and Rousaud’s 2,501 signatures helped him cross the line.
Laporta acknowledged his lead and the need not to be complacent when he said: “We’re doing well, but we can’t rely on this, I don’t think about whether I’m a favourite or not. I’m just concentrating on explaining our plans clearly.
“That is what I believe campaigning is, and I don’t care if it is against one, two or three opponents, I trust that the elections will be held, this mismanagement can’t be allowed any longer.”
A key part of Laporta’s plans is understood to be a reunion with former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes. Laporta has not shied away from his intention to ensure that Valdes will be allowed to return to La Blaugrana, two years after he was fired from his position as youth-team manager shortly after he took the job.
Reports at the time in 2019 confirmed that Valdes fell out with then-director Patrick Kluivert, which lead to the breakdown of cordiality between the Board and Valdes, forcing him to leave his post after just three months on the job. He is currently with Spain’s third-tier side, the Barcelona-based Horta FC.
Though all indications suggest that Laporta may be the clear favourite for next weekend’s elections, it will be unwise for him to discard the challenge the others might pose, especially from a candidate like Font.
The 48-year-old Font is expected to present the strongest threat as a result of his close relationship with Al-Sadd boss Xavi, who has been tipped to return to the Catalonia as manager in the near future and would be a hugely popular choice among the Cules.
The 24th of January is the date and in the immediate thereafter, it shall be clear who will lead Barcelona from the administrative standpoint into a future that is beginning to look a lot less bleaker than it was previously after the Messi-led revival on the field of play.