The Catalan giants have a democratic tradition in electing their figurehead, with club members all casting a ballot to replace the outgoing president
Indeed, the club occupies a special place at the heart of the Barcelona community and, historically, it has conducted its business somewhat differently to many of its counterparts in Spain and elsewhere.
While most supporters of the club across the world will more or less stop at following their on-field fortunes or buying the shirt, others become members and they are very much hands-on.
The members have an equal say in the direction the club travels in through the presidential elections.
- When are Barcelona’s presidential elections?
- Who are the Barcelona presidential election candidates?
- Who is Barcelona’s current president?
- Who can vote in Barcelona presidential elections?
The next upcoming Barcelona presidential election will now take place on March 20 & 21, having been brought forward from June 2021.
An individual who has been elected Barcelona president earns a mandate to serve in the post for six years. That means elections take place every six years, barring extraordinary circumstances.
Ex-president Josep Bartomeu did not seek re-election in 2021, and resigned in October ahead of the end of his tenure next year.
Lionel Messi cited a long-standing dispute with the Bartomeu in an exclusive interview with Goal, as well as his unhappiness at the way the club was being run and his lack of faith in Barcelona’s future: “I told the club, including the president, that I wanted to go. I’ve been telling him that all year. I believed it was time to step aside.
“I believed that the club needed more young players, new players and I thought my time in Barcelona was over. I felt very sorry because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.”
The likes of Victor Font, former president Joan Laporta, Jordi Farre, Toni Freixa and Lluis Fernandez have stepped forward as presidential election candidates.
Farre, Fonte and Laporta are all understood to have signed a vote of no confidence against Bartomeu to oust him prior to March 2021.
Font is reportedly determined to implement a number of changes at Barcelona.
“We have a lot of challenges for the next five or 10 years,” he said, per Marca, in early 2019. “A key one, and one of the first, is the management of the end of [Lionel] Messi [as he gets towards retiring].”
As well as preparing for Messi’s retirement, Font has pin-pointed issues such as players’ image rights, the need to sell players and placing an emphasis on consulting directly with members on major proposals.
He has spoken of getting Xavi back involved and has been backed by the likes of Carles Puyol, Gerard Lopez and former president Joan Gaspart, who served from 2000 until 2003.
While Font has advocated replacing current coach Ronald Koeman, Freixa threw his own support behind the Dutch manager, insisting the tactician is the long-term answer.
“When I talk about him it gives me goosebumps, he knows our club and he has great leadership,” Freixa said.
“He has arrived and is already making decisions, when you hire a coach you have to support him until the end.
Farre outlined his own desires to strive for change at Camp Nou in the wake of Messi’s desires to leave the club as revealed exclusively to Goal.
“Messi said there is no project and the board lied to him, all ‘socios’ should sign the motion of censure,” Farre said.
“The signature collection got hurried after Messi’s quotes to Goal, the rhythm got doubled after it, maybe he should have used another strategy but the important thing is he is staying and I still think it is possible to convince him to sign another renewal.”
Josep Maria Bartomeu was the most recent president of Barcelona. The president’s job involves helping to shape policy, overseeing transfers, signing contracts and being the public face of the club in business.
A native of Catalunya, Bartomeu took on the role on an interim basis in 2014 after Sandro Rosell’s resignation. He then won the 2015 election, officially becoming the 40th president of the club’s history.
The CEO of the ADELTE group and EFS, Bartomeu was also involved with the boards of previous presidents Rosell and Joan Laporta.
Bartomeu became an increasingly unpopular figure at the club, with Messi having outlined Bartomeu’s handling of the club affairs and their deteriorating relationship as one of the key reasons he wanted to leave in the summer.
Complaints were related to reports that the club had hired a social media contractor to discredit individuals such as Messi, Gerard Pique and Pep Guardiola. Bartomeu has denied the reports.
A total 20,687 votes were amassed to vote for the motion against Bartomeu, passing the required minimum of 16,250 signatures for it to go through.
The board had tried to delay the vote but local authorities rejected the club’s push to stall the procedures.
Only socios (club members) – socis in Catalan – have the right to vote in Barcelona presidential elections.
In order to be eligible to vote, socios must be at least 18 and they must have been socio for at least one year. They must also be present in Barcelona at Camp Nou to vote.
Find out more about becoming a Barcelona member on the club’s official website.