Under-fire Laporta survives vote of confidence


MADRID: Barcelona’s under-fire president Joan Laporta (pic) will complete the remaining two years of his mandate after he survived a vote by the club’s general assembly on Sunday.

The 45-year-old lawyer received the backing of 55.8 of the votes cast by delegates, Barcelona said on its website. “As a result he will continue his mandate until 2010,” it said.

Laporta has come under pressure with the Catalan club having ended the past two seasons empty-handed after winning the 2006 Champions League and on July 7 he narrowly won a confidence vote.

An emergency board meeting three days later narrowly approved him staying on in the post, but eight leading officials resigned in protest at the decision.

Laporta has headed the club since 2003 and was re-elected in 2006, then decided to put his mandate to a vote of the general assembly in August. The Catalan giants ended last season in third place, missing out on automatic qualification for the lucrative Champions League.

Laporta responded in May by firing Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard after five years in the job and replacing him with Pep Guardiola, a former team player who looked after the reserves. The club has also spent over 80mil euros (US$120mil) to recruit six new players including Belarussian international midfielder Alexander Hleb from English Premiership side Arsenal. – AFP

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