January 12 – With battle lines drawn, Joan Laporta (pictured) looks set to become Barcelona president for the second time though his main rival says he would be a throwback to the past rather than a voice for the future.
Laporta led Barcelona between 2003 and 2010, building one of the most formidable dynasties in European club football, and is now the front-runner to take over from the much-maligned Josep Maria Bartomeu
Candidates had to present signatures from club members to qualify for the presidential race and Laporta, who has promised to try and get Lionel Messi to stay, reportedly acquired 10,257, way above the required number of 2,257 and more than every other candidate’s haul put together.
Victor Font was the closest behind him, with 4,710 signatures. Toni Freixa (2,821) and Emili Rousaud (2,501) were the only others to achieve the required number. Jordi Farre, Xavier Vilajoana, Agusti Benedito, Luis Fernandez Ala and Pere Riera were all unable to meet the threshold.
Font has long been the candidate most likely to compete with Laporta though the gap looks set to work against him despite his ‘Sí al Futur’ (‘Yes to the Future’) campaign and being the apparent preferred candidate of Bartomeu.
He says he offers a clean pair of hands and a modern approach and while praising Laporta’s past reign argued his rival had little forward-looking vision.
“He is the past, we are the future,” said Font ahead of the January 24 election that will steer a path for Barca on and off the pitch.
“We are talking about a former president known to the whole world, and the memories of his mandate evoke good moments,” Font told Diario Sport.
“Therefore, it’s normal for him to be favourite. We all like to remember the good times … but to build the future of the club we can’t go back to 2003, where there was a whole team that’s no longer there.”
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