The race begins. We're a few months away from the elections but nobody can lose time and within weeks the interested parties will start showing their cards. Who will bid for election as the new president of Barcelona? Four names are clear. In alphabetical order, here they are.
Josep Maria Bartomeu
Barcelona, 1963. He is the current president following Sandro Rosell's resignation one year ago. Like his immediate predecessor, he has had a difficult reign with many obstacles, some involuntary and some he has sought out himself. His economic management does not seem to have been bad, but you can't say the same for the sport side. The situation has gradually deteriorated until he has had to call the elections a year earlier than planned. He announced that on Wednesday.
Barcelona, 1964. Entrepreneur from the automotive sector. He ran in the 2010 elections, won by Sandro Rosell, finishing in second place with 14.09% of the vote. Although he did not triumph he could be seen as the revelation of Barcelona's world, participating in debates and giving his point of view on the current Barcelona team. He has also made clear his intention to stand in the next election.
Granollers, 1972. The head of consulting firm Delta Partners. He has not officially announced his intention to run for election, but the name carries strength. In the 2010 elections he was part of the bid of Marc Ingla, who is a good friend, like former executive Ferran Soriano. Having to be in Dubai regularly for his work does raise doubts about whether he will be able to construct a campaign in time.
Barcelona 1962. A lawyer, and former president of Barcelona between 2003 and 2010. Many consider him the best president the club has ever had, thanks to the sporting success of the team under Pep Guardiola. However, his reign also had its dark spots. After hearing the call for elections he tweeted: "Now more than ever we must encourage the team for the good of the club. In regard to the elections, I will speak when I see the right opportunity and always with the desire to maintain the stability of the club." In all surveys of recent weeks, he's been the favourite to win the election.
No other candidate is noteworthy. Jordi Farre, a little known person in the Barcelona family, announced he would be a candidate, and has called a new press conference for Thursday next week.