The motion for a vote of no confidence vs the FC Barcelona board is underway. Moreover, the 8 organizations that lead the motion said that with 9 days to go, they collected 7500 signatures. What is that mean? And why is this task is almost impossible? I’ll try to address this issue.
First, a quick reminder that the FC Barcelona is a members’ organization, and the board is elected by those members. That means that there will never be a sheikh or oligarch who buys the club and controls everything. Moreover, the board members of FC Barcelona has to pay a down payment of 15% of the expenses every year. However, if the economic status of the team is good, then they don’t have to do that. That’s why the Arthur deal made a business sense, but made no sense for us fans.
However, according to club rules, a no-confidence vote must go through two stages: First collect signatures up to a certain quota in a allotted time. And if successful, then the club has to hold the vote, where a two-thirds majority should vote to oust the board.
The vote of no confidence of 2008
In 2008, Oriol Giralt led a motion for a vote of no confidence against president Joan Laporta. Girald had the support of Sandro Rosell and the media and had to get 5,882 signatures that made up 5% of Socios. How much did they achieve? 9,473. Next, in the vote, Laporta was already with a foot and a half out with Rosell pulling the strings, Joseph Maria Bartomeu is supporting him and the media is also playing a role.
Girlat got 60.6% of the vote (23,870 votes) versus 37.7% (14,871), and that was less than the necessary 66.6%. Laporta survived. Barely, but survived. Thanks to 2,363 votes that were missing for the opposition.
Laporta breathed a sigh of relief and chose to continue in office and not resign. But the rush was not over: four days later, eight board members did resign, led by Ferran Soriano, one of the key figures in Barça’s 2003 coup. He was one of the vice-presidents and now he is the general manager of Manchester City. And Barça have done quite well in the last two years before parting ways with its president.
Rosell won the elections in 2010
Rosell achieved what he so desperately wanted – to replace Laporta – only in 2010. And in the beginning he still enjoyed the fruits of his predecessor’s success in office. But slowly the club began to deteriorate and the president did something that haunts Barça to this day:with Bartomeu as his deputy, Rosell decided to raise the bar for a vote of no confidence vote from 5% to 15%. Therefore, that made the act of trying to force Barça president out an almost impossible task.
Since then, needless to say, they have failed to move to the second stage of a no-confidence vote – that is, to obtain the required number of signatures. Before that, of course, they succeeded, and not just in 2008. A decade earlier Barça also had a no-confidence vote and even then Laporta was at the center of things, just from the other side. He led a Socios group called the “Elephant Blau” (“Blue Elephant”) and initiated an attempt to oust President Joseph Luis Nunez.
They got 6,000 signatures and got to the phase of the vote. But in it Laporta obtained only 35% of the votes (14,358 votes). 61% (24,863) who were in favor of Nunez’s management. Eventually the president continued in office for another two years until he left Barça in 2000.
2017 – Benedito was close
The next attempt for a vote of no-confidence was in 2017. Agustí Benedito initiated the move, and his task of course was much more difficult. Under club rules, once the notes and documents are collected from the offices and opened with a no-confidence vote, there are 14 working days to collect the required signatures – 15% which was then 16,257 votes.
With attempts to take advantage of the games at the Camp Nou and stands outside the stadium, Benedito reached 12,504 votes after much effort. And there was also a controversy: do these 14 days also include Saturdays? Benedito claimed yes, Barça – presumably – claimed no. It came to court, which ruled in September that Benedito was right.
This of course no longer helped, and he could not even prove that he had reached the votes since he had collected, simply because the notes were destroyed after he did not meet the target. Since then, by the way, it has been decided that these 14 days do include Saturdays, making the task even more difficult.
The odds are against the Mocion2020
Now, half a year before the election, there is another attempt to lead a no-confidence vote. But as you have already understood, in order to reach the second stage of the vote at all (and it is doubtful how it will be held in the days of Corona), all sensations must happen. Reasons, as stated, are not lacking. From raising the bar to 15%, through the support that Bartomeu receives in the media and among most of the Socios, to the effects of the Corona.
Barça games have always been the focus of collecting signatures. But this time it is not possible, because fans can’t see the matches live.
The organizers announced today that they have 7,500 signatures. This is the amount they have so far in the first phase of a no-confidence vote against Josep Maria Bartomeu. They maintain optimism that they will reach the target – 16,520. But for that to happen they will at least have to maintain the current pace (and perhaps even increase it). It will be difficult, although Leo Messi’s criticism of the Barça president gave them a boosting effect.
If you do not count today and also take into account that the collection of signatures began last Tuesday (the day after collecting the documents from the club), this means that the 7,500 signatures were obtained in seven days – an average of 1,071 per day. If the estimates of the no-confidence vote organizers are correct, it means that they need to collect another 9,020 signatures in nine days (including today and until September 16, by 17 everything should already be transferred to the club). That is, an average rate of about 1,000 signatures per day is required.
Local media shows no support
After the Mundo Deportivo published Messi’s harsh criticism of Bartomeu in the famous interview the next day and more in the front page of the newspaper, they returned to their old ways. The news about the update of the number of signatures is the 11th item on the newspaprt. But note this : According to the report, on Monday, three days before they will have to transfer all the signatures to the club, Jordi Farré – the pre-presidential candidate and one of the promoters of the no-confidence vote – will enter press conference in which he will announce a way that will allow Socios to sign digitally. If such a move succeeds (and take into account where this report comes from), it might be decisive.
Apart from Farré, only two other candidates actively support a no-confidence vote: Victor Font and Lluis Fernández Alà. Over the past few days Font was regularly posting updates on his Twitter account and that of his campaign.
Joan Laporta for example, still maintains relative silence and settled for a sharing of his signature photo. And it’s a shame, because he has 206,000 followers on Twitter, almost four times that of Font.
Whether the first stage of the vote of no-confidence will succeed or not, we will find out next week. By the way, until the deadline, Barça have two friendly games for the upcoming season. Both are at the Johan Cruyff Stadium, but of course without the fans.