Barcelona president-elect Joan Laporta was said to be facing a race against time to raise the necessary funds to complete his bid for the club’s top job, or face a second election.
The 58-year-old Laporta was elected to the Barcelona presidency for the second time earlier this month. Laporta previously held the position between 2003 and 2010 – a spell which arguably coincided with the Catalan giants’ best spell of football under first Frank Rijkaard and then Pep Guardiola.
However, Laporta faced an anxious scramble to see if his election will be realized after it emerged that he was significantly short when it comes to required funds in order to take the position.
Per the terms of his election, he must present a bank guarantee worth 15 percent of Barcelona’s budget within 10 days of his election – which means Wednesday of this week.
The sum he needs to raise is understood to be €125 million ($149 million).
The bank guarantee must also be ratified by La Liga to receive official approval. Barcelona have found themselves in an unenviable financial position due to the mismanagement of former presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, with their current debt estimated to be in advance of €1 billion.
Laporta’s candidacy for the presidency was bolstered by the support of club talisman Lionel Messi and he defeated rivals Victor Font and Toni Freixa in the election. He campaigned, in part at least, by saying that he would do all in his power to retain Messi’s services at the club amid rumors that the Argentine may again campaign to leave upon the expiration of his contract this summer.
It is thought, or hoped at the very least, that Laporta’s stewardship of the famous club might held re-establish Barcelona’s status as Europe’s most successful club. During his first term in charge, the team won practically every trophy available to them – including three Champions Leagues.
Laporta had also been speculated as considering the appointment of club legend Xavi into the Camp Nou dugout to replace current boss (and fellow former player) Ronald Koeman. Xavi was club captain for much of the glory days in Laporta’s first reign.
If Laporta doesn’t raise the required funds, an interim president would be appointed who will oversee a brand new election – and the entire process begin all over again.
As the deadline ticked down, reports in Spain claimed that Laporta had managed to secure funds through Banco de Sabadell and Audax, although La Liga will still need to validate his approval as president.