Laporta voted in as FC Barcelona’s new president

Joan Laporta was elected FC Barcelona president for a time on Sunday as club members voted him in to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu.

The 58-year-old Laporta beat Victor Font and Toni Freixa to become the club’s president for a time.

He was previously in charge between 2003 and 2010.

Laporta had 19,293 votes after 75 per cent of the votes had been counted, with Font on 10,404 votes and Freixa on 3,347 votes, guaranteeing him the victory.

“Let’s to Paris and see if we can turn it around,” said Laporta as he celebrated his victory at Camp Nou, referring to FC Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League last 16- leg clash with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on Wednesday.

Bartomeu stepped down from the role in 2020 as he faced a vote of no confidence from club members, with elections called for January.

But the elections postponed because of the pandemic.

Laporta inherits the club with gross debt of around 1.2 billion euros (1.4 billion dollars).

And has come ahead of Lionel Messi’s contract expiring in the summer, meaning the star player can walk away for free.

The 33-year-old Messi voted in the election, along with teammates which included Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Riqui Puig, while president Bartomeu also voted to choose his successor.

Bartomeu was detained police earlier week as part of an investigation the “Barcagate” media scandal, relating to a company hired to monitor the club’s online presence.(dpa/NAN)