Josep Bartomeu FAILED to keep Lionel Messi happy and the imminent vote of no confidence is proof of just how deep the discontent runs… the weight of feeling is against the Barcelona president but his successor faces major transfer and pay cut issues

  • There were 18,090 signatures for Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu to go 
  • Bartomeu must now decide to stand down or wait for November’s referendum 
  • He could salvage some positive PR by leaving his post now to save club energy
  • But whoever his successor is faces major transfer challenges and pay cut issues 

With Lionel Messi’s killer line from his recent Goal.com interview: ‘The truth is that there has been no clear project here for a long time, they juggle and plug holes with no real plan,’ still hanging in the air like a bad smell, Barcelona’s board of directors know they are about to be toppled.

With 18,090 signatures, including one from the brother of a Barcelona first-team player according to presidential candidate Jordi Farré,  for Josep Bartomeu to stand down as president now officially ratified – only 16,520 were needed – there must be a referendum on whether the board should stand down.

The president must now decide to sit tight and wait for the referendum at the start of November, or go now.

There were 18,090 signatures for Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu to stand down

There were 18,090 signatures for Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu to stand down

If the board opts to hang on then November's referendum will need a two-thirds majority

If the board opts to hang on then November’s referendum will need a two-thirds majority

Amassing so many signatures when there are no games shows how deep fans' discontent runs

Amassing so many signatures when there are no games shows how deep fans’ discontent runs

If the current board opts to hang on then the referendum will need a two-thirds majority forcing him out and making for elections at the start of January.

Bartomeu could salvage some positive PR by leaving his post now in the name of saving the club the expense and energy of organizing the referendum – a process that will be complicated by Covid-19 restrictions.

On Wednesday in Barcelona praise was arriving from all sides for the organisers of the signature collection. Amassing so many signatures at a time when there are no games – removing the matchday concentration of disgruntled supporters – has been a huge feat, and proof of just how deep the discontent runs.

But while the movement ‘More than a motion’ (motion of no-confidence) has done all the hard work, Messi definitely gets the assist.

But while the motion of no-confidence has done the hard work, Lionel Messi gets the assist

But while the motion of no-confidence has done the hard work, Lionel Messi gets the assist

Messi's transfer request and attempted departure was another stain on Bartomeu's presidency

Messi’s transfer request and attempted departure was another stain on Bartomeu’s presidency

His burofaxed transfer request, subsequent strike, and the general circus around his attempted departure to Manchester City was actually one of the few things Bartomeu seemed to handle well, but it still went down as another stain on his time as president. Keeping Messi happy is pretty much top of the president’s to-do-list and that was something else he had failed at.

Not all of Bartomeu’s detractors backed the motion of no-confidence. Some argued that a January election was really only bringing forward by two months the election that had already been set-in place for March.

The benefit of a new president taking over in the first week of January is that there will still be three weeks of the winter transfer window left.

But whoever emerges victorious – Jordi Farré, Lluís Fernández Alà and Víctor Font have all said they will stand and Joan Laporta could join them – they will still find it tough to come up with transfer funds.

Victor Font is among the candidates to replace Bartomeu in either January or March elections

Victor Font is among the candidates to replace Bartomeu in either January or March elections

Font could be joined in the presidency running by former Barcelona president Joan Laporta

Font could be joined in the presidency running by former Barcelona president Joan Laporta

The financial impact of Covid-19 has left the club reporting losses of £88million for last season. The new man will also have to negotiate another round of pay-cuts with the squad.

The thought of avoiding those onerous tasks might even be the final push for Bartomeu to stand down sooner rather than later. If he opts to buy more time it will increase the feeling that some things still need to be put in order before everything can be laid bare before new administrators.

What he has been left in no doubt about is the weight of feeling against him. There have been two referendums to remove the president in Barcelona’s history and in both cases the incumbent survived.

Bartomeu does not want to become the first to lose. He would be banking on Covid-19 preventing the necessary turn-out of 10 per cent of the club membership, but as the collection of signatures has shown people appear prepared to go the extra-mile to remove him from office.

Bartomeu does not want to become the first Barcelona president to lose such a referendum

Bartomeu does not want to become the first Barcelona president to lose such a referendum

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