Joan Laporta’s presidency at Barcelona cannot begin until he can come up with a ‘guarantee’ of around £108m – something which has been made far more complicated with the shock resignation of leading investor Jaume Giro.
Club rules state that any new president-to-be has ten days after being confirmed as the winner of the election to come up with 15% of their proposed budget, after which their presidency can be officially finalised.
That was not expected to be a problem for Laporta, but Giro’s resignation on Saturday has thrown a spanner in the works. Giro was expected to finance a large part of the move, but concerns over his level of involvement on Laporta’s board saw the pair’s relationship break down.
As noted by El Periodico, Laporta still needs to find around £60m before he can actually take control of the team, but with the clock slowly ticking down, that’s far easier said than done.
Ara first broke the news that Laporta had found the necessary funds thanks to investment from Audax chairman Jose Elias Navarro, but talks have since broken down as Navarro refused to fund a project which would not give him control.
“It doesn’t make sense for me to put my money into a project that I don’t control or participate in,” he said. “I can help at the management or knowledge level, but physically I cannot join the Barca board because I do not have the necessary seniority.”
Because of the collapse of that deal, Laporta has been making calls to countless businesses in Catalonia in search of investment, with RAC1 saying each has been offered a spot on the board in exchange for anywhere between £5m and £10m.
It has been a frantic few hours, but the belief is that Laporta has found the necessary funding and he will be able to present the money on Tuesday ahead of being officially sworn in as president later on Wednesday.
It’s all a bit of a chaotic mess which is bringing back far too many memories of Josep Maria Bartomeu’s reign at the club. He plunged Barcelona into financial uncertainty, and Laporta’s presidency looks like it will begin with the same drama.
Once Laporta officially replaces acting president Carles Tusquets and takes his seat in the office, he can start flicking switches, pulling levers and mixing up the magic potion needed to make Barcelona stable once more.