Sports 07/03/2021

Triumphal return for Laporta

The lawyer would obtain more than 58% of the votes in a day marked by the high participation

3 min
Joan Laporta, voting at the Camp Nou

BarcelonaOn his way to the space where he had to wait for the election results, Joan Laporta wanted to stop in front of the statue of Johan Cruyff. And accompanied by his team, he took a photograph to remember that moment. "We owe it all to him," he said, his voice hoarse. He already knew he was the winner of the election, which saw him return to the Camp Nou presidency 11 years after he left it. With 57% of the votes, the Barcelona lawyer made a triumphant return to the club after winning an election whose high turnout surprised all candidates. Neither the pandemic nor the fact of voting without being able to attend a match, as was tradition, stopped the social base that defended the club's name, making the day a party, with over 56,000 votes. Thus, Laporta's success was legitimised, as he bettered the results of his first triumph, in 2003, when he obtained 27,138 votes, 52.57%.

In second place was Víctor Font, who was making his debut in the electoral race. The leader of the Sí al Futur candidacy won 31% of the votes, far behind Laporta, but also far ahead of Toni Freixa, who for the second time in a row came last in an election for the club's presidency, with just over 10% of the votes. At Freixa's headquarters, next to the stadium, more than one cried, disappointed, despite the fact that this time, unlike in 2015, he obtained more votes than signatures to be a candidate. At Laporta's headquarters, on the other hand, beer and cava were flowing. The party had already started early, as the lawyer's campaign team had carried out an exit poll in which they thought they could win with more than 65% of the votes. In the end, it was 57%. A resounding triumph, of course, beyond discussion. It was not yet 11 o'clock at night and Laporta was already singing the anthem, happy, after embracing Víctor Font and Toni Freixa, who had come to congratulate him, in a symbolic image.

Laporta understood what had to be done at all times, without making mistakes in a very long electoral campaign in which he led the pack from the very beginning, when he obtained many more endorsements from the club's members. At that time, he had double the support of Víctor Font and Toni Freixa. And on election day, it was the same. Although Font's team wondered if there was a possibility when they saw how high the turnout was, for Laporta it was a huge success, despite some incidents such as when a member rebuked him by reminding him that he had run out of tickets for the Champions League final in 2006. There was also controversy over a video in which Laporta appeared to make a sexist comment to a girl, although Laporta denied it, saying that the phrase had been taken out of context.

The lawyer thus achieves a triumph that will allow him to become the fourth president to return to the presidency a few years after leaving it, along with Joan Gamper (1908-09, 1910-13, 1917-18, 1921-23 and 1924-25), Gaspar Rosés (1916-17, 1920-21 and 1930-31) and Joan Coma (1925 and 1931-34). Laporta, however, is the first to achieve it with full members' vote, given that he was president from 2003 to 2010. He was unable to stand for election in 2010 because he had already served two consecutive terms. In 2015 he was defeated by Josep Maria Bartomeu and now he is back in the sweetest way, with a triumph beyond discussion.

Laporta's triumph also means the end of the provisional mandate of Carles Tusquets' management board and, above all, the end of the era that began with Josep Maria Bartomeu as president of the club. Bartomeu, who also voted, resigned in October 2020 under pressure from the club's no-confidence motion. The first elections with different polling stations and postal voting, then, have ended up becoming a victory for Laporta, the man who has shown over the last few months that he loves Barça very much.