Barcelona’s presidential election has been postponed due to COVID-19, the club have confirmed.
The election was due to take place on 24 January, but the Catalonian government confirmed to club officials that exceptions would not be made to allow members of the club hierarchy to vote.
The delay means that the club will finish the January transfer window without a president, meaning any incomings are highly unlikely. It also means that Lionel Messi’s future will continue to hang in the balance as he enters the final five months of his deal.
While a new date is yet to be scheduled, the club have announced that they will look into people being able to vote via post.
An official statement from the club read: “For its part, the club has understood the impossibility of holding elections on the scheduled date due to mobility restrictions decreed by the Catalan Government in the current context of the pandemic, which is why the date of the elections must be delayed.
“In this sense, the club has asked the Catalan Government to evaluate the possibility of modifying the current sports legislation in order to enable voting by post on the new date of the elections, a request that the Government has undertaken to study.”
The election is down to the final three candidates with Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa looking to take over from Josep Bartomeu, who resigned in October 2020. Laporta and Font are regarded as the favourites, with both promising to prioritise Messi’s contract.
Laporta was president of the club between 2003 and 2010 and was responsible for the club’s appointment of Pep Guardiola as manager. Font is keen to recreate something similar, making his relationship with legendary midfielder Xavi Hernandez clear as he has name-checked him as a potential future manager.
With Barcelona struggling on the pitch for most of 2020, fans are hopeful that a new president will begin a new chapter of success at the club.