There are still 22 days to go until Barcelona’s long-suffering membership go to the polls to elect a new club president.
It is, by some distance, the biggest decision that the 160,000 or so ‘socios’ will have made in decades.
With former presidential incumbent, Josep Maria Bartomeu, running the club into the ground, whomever replaces him faces a tough task to bring the club back to where it should be.There are a number of candidates that remain in the frame at this stage.
Jordi Farre, Fabian Martin, Toni Freixa, Xavi Vilanova and Emili Rousaud are not amongst the favourites for the top job but each is doing their best to curry favour with voters.
For example, Farre has promised to bring Neymar back to the club if he’s to be elected, which could be a game-changer as far as Messi is concerned.
Rousaud on the other hand noted that he had an agreement to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, though that has been dismissed as fake news by the player’s agent, Mino Raiola.
Martin even sent 500 free pizzas to potential voters!
Oddly enough, despite those promises, those candidates as well as the other two don’t look likely to make the cut in the first round of voting.
In 10 days time, there will be a run off to see which candidates have polled the necessary 2,257 votes to allow them to progress forward into the actual vote for the presidency.
At this stage, according to local Catalan media, none of them are close to the cut off and are at risk of making the vote a two-horse race between Victor Font and Joan Laporta.
Font has some very forward-looking elements to his candidacy, not least to bring Barca into the 21st century by allowing any future votes to be done online in order that all members around the world can participate.
At present, only those in Catalonia or who fly there – unlikely during a pandemic – are eligible.
With the majority of the membership also being opposed to drastic change, Font could find himself trailing former president, Joan Laporta, who held the post between 2003 and 2010.
Though there are no guarantees that any candidate is going to make a success of the position, at least with Laporta he’s been there, done it and bought the t-shirt.
Furthermore, his ‘father-son’ relationship with Messi could well help in keeping the Argentinian at Barcelona for the remainder of his career.
However, he did lose to Bartomeu in 2015 so perhaps Font is a dark horse for the win.