Barça
Sports 10/03/2021

Laporta's race to get the endorsement he needs to govern Barça

The president-elect and his board have to close a €124.6m bail before taking possession

2 min
The candidacy of Joan Laporta to the presidency of Barça.

BarcelonaMore than 30.000 votes in a historical elections - the second with most participation in Barça's history - legitimise Joan Laporta's second stint in charge of the club. The president-elect, conscious that the entity needs string leadership after over four months of an interim board, took no time to go to and greet Ronald Koeman and the players of the first team, who he has accompanied on their trip to Paris before playing PSG. He also met Pau Gasol, the rest of the basketball team and the Barça women's team. The institutional staff seemshappy that they finally have a president.

However, Laporta will only be able to start making decisions after he has deposited the €124.6m deposit required by La Liga, a figure which corresponds to 15% of the current budget. Laporta has until next week to deposit the funds, although his team is in no doubt that they will manage thanks to contributions by a few directors and an agreement with Banco Sabadell. Banco Sabadell, however, has reservations about the club's situation and has asked board members for additional warranties.

Javier Botín's role

This is what is slowing down negotiations to deposit the bond. According to El Confidencial, Javier Botín - from the family that owns and directs Banco Sabadell- is involved. Laporta's team claims he is only providing advice, and that Bonco Sabadell will take on the bulk of the bond. Another option the board is considering is taking on new members. Hence an offer to Joan Soler, who was initially part of Jordi Farré's team. He has been asked to join the board in exchange to contributing €8m towards the bond. Soler is currently the president of Vilafranca, a club that plays in the Third Division.

The negotiations to structure the guarantee are especially sensitive because during the first months of his mandate Laporta, Jaume Giró and the rest of those responsible for the management of Barça will have to deal with a terrible economic legacy due to the pandemic and skyrocketed spending, especially in terms of wages. They take for granted that for the second year in a row the club will end with losses - estimated at 150 million - which will force them to pay, jointly, an annual fee to the issuer of the guarantee until the institution does not generate a certain threshold of profit. This is why the administration of the first few months is crucial, as is the need to return to a scenario with more income than expenses

In one of the debates during the last week of the campaign, Laporta said he would have "no problem" in explaining how he and his directors would support the guarantee to be able to govern, a step that Bartomeu skipped after the 2015 elections thanks to his status as a continuist candidate. The other two candidates that ran in the Sunday elections did have the funds at hand: Toni Freixa was supported by Manuel Lao, ex-owner of Cirsa and the richest man in Catalonia, while Víctor Font enjoyed the backing of Catalan start-ups business people such as Òscar Pierre (Glovo) and Luis de Vale (YouPlanet) as well as from the entertainment industry, such as María José Balañá (Grup Balañá).

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