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Barcelona to elect new president over weekend

sports Updated: Jun 11, 2010 20:04 IST

Four candidates will stand on Sunday in an election to replace Joan Laporta as the chairman of Spanish champions Barcelona in an internal vote in the midst of World Cup fever.

Laporta, 47, cannot stand for election again after holding the position since 2003.

Under his guidance Barcelona won the Champions League twice -- in 2006 and 2009 -- and the Spanish league four times -- in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010 -- making it the most successful period in the club's history.

Barcelona's outgoing vice-president Jaume Ferrer is the only one of the four candidates in the race who has the backing of Laporta. The 46-year-old has been part of the club's board since 2003.

The other candidates are Sandro Rosell, 46, who was part of the board of the club between 2003 and 2005 during Laporta's first term; Marc Ingla, 44, a member of the board from 2003 to 2008; and Agusti Benedito, 45, who worked for several different club commissions between 2003 and 2009.

Rosell, a former Nike executive who was behind Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho's move to Barcelona is ahead in the polls whole Ferrer is in last place.

Rosell served as Laporta's vice-president but quit in 2005 because he was disillusioned with the way the club was being run, accusing it of lacking "independence, transparency and democracy".

"The problem is Laporta, he has a problem with himself. The project of this group of youths has gotten lost in recent years," he added at the time.

During the 2003 election, advertising executive Lluis Bassat was the favourite heading into the polls, which were won by Laporta.

Catalan media reported Friday that Ferrer, Ingla and Benedito may form an alliance against Rosell.

Whoever wins the election will have urgent issues to attend to such as getting coach Pep Guardiola to agree to a contract extension and fulfilling fans' desire to bring midfielder Cesc Fabregas back from Arsenal.