Barcelona agree presidential election dates in wake of Lionel Messi saga

Barcelona’s next presidential elections will take place on March 20 and 21 next year, it has been announced.

Current incumbent Jose Maria Bartomeu had previously confirmed that the next elections would be held between January and the end of March after rejecting calls for them to be this year.

He cannot stand again after spending two consecutive terms in office but would almost certainly not have been re-elected anyway amid the current tensions at the Nou Camp.

Bartomeu and Barca's board have come in for significant criticism in recent times after the Catalans poor showing on the pitch last season saw them end up with no trophies.

And after relinquishing their La Liga title to bitter rivals Real Madrid, things got much worse after an embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final.

Then came the fiasco involving six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, who tried to push through a transfer away from the club.

In the end the Argentine agreed to stay for one more year after making it clear that he was not willing to take the club to court over his contract, but Bartomeu did not come out of it well.

Messi himself criticised the president, claiming that he lied to him about allowing him to leave if that was his desire.

Bartomeu could now find himself forced out of his position before March with a vote of no confidence having received more than 7,500 signatures from Barca members.

It is thought that 16,520 of the 140,000 current members would need to sign the vote by September 14 in order for it to be successful.

If it is not successful, Bartomeu will remain in place until the election in March, before a new president is then named.

Barcelona confirmed in a statement that votes will be able to be cast in a number of locations over the weekend in March as a social distancing measure during the coronavirus pandemic, with postal votes also permitted.

It has also been revealed that the next Ordinary Assembly of the club’s members will take place on October 25 – the day of the next Clasico against Real Madrid.

New Barca boss Ronald Koeman will be hoping to hit the ground running when the new season gets underway or face another season of uncertainty.

All eyes will be on Messi to see if he remains committed to the cause or if he decides to take the foot off the gas in his last season.

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