Barca bigwigs prepare for election battle

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Barcelona’s next presidential elections could still be up to six months away, but this hasn’t stopped a gaggle of candidates beginning their ablutions to take over from the current King of Catalunya, Joan ‘Joan’ Laporta.

And at this point the blog must note what a fine group of potential princes could well be on offer for box-ticking Barça fans when the time comes to make that choice for a new big cheese.

Especially for those whose yanks are cranked by pompous, embittered, grudge-holding men in their 50s.

Between March and May next year, the confused Culé collective are going to have to choose between a long list of blowhard tedious types all looking for some expense-sponging fun at the Camp Nou.

And from what La Liga Loca can tell in these very early stages, the candidates seem to fall into four main camps.

1) Those who have served with Laporta as a board member but fell out with the trouser-removing titan and resigned.

2) Those who are still on the board and very much in the Catalan-crazy cad’s lap.

3) Those who are still on the board, but not part of Laporta’s ‘in-crowd’ and were possibly spied upon in the recent ‘security audit’ scandal.

4) Those from outside the club who have no chance of winning.

Because Barcelona have been doing reasonably well of late, the strongest candidates as things stand today are likely to come from group 2 - Laporta’s ‘Dauphins’ as the Madrid press like to call them - and will claim, come election time, that they are a safe pair of hands for the future.

Or whatever Laporta tells them to say, really.

Leading this posse of wannabe presidents is the colourfully-dressed, Xavier Sala i Martin, who has already (un)officially thrown his hat into the ring by branding certain Spanish people as “idiots” and by attacking the supposed hostility shown by them to anyone from his Cataluyna homeland.

“They pull a gun on us if we speak Catalan,” moaned Martin.

The Colombia University economics professor was recently moved into the position of Barcelona’s treasurer with Laporta claiming that “it will help him to know the club in greater detail.”

However, Sport are betting that the eventual fight will be between a candidate from group 1 and another from group 3.

The front-runner from the former is set to be Sandro Rosell, the running mate of Laporta in 2003 who quit two years later having accused his boss and friend of going a little bit bonkers.

And the former Nike executive could be facing a current board member, Alfons Godall - one of those lucky enough not to have had his private and business life poked into by private investigators hired by his employers.

Something that even Martin has admitted was a bit of a mistake.

“They were friends and colleagues” says Josep Maria Casanovas in Tuesday’s Sport.

“Now they’re rivals and we hope they don’t end up being enemies.”

Rosell - and anyone else from group 1 or group 4 - will almost certainly have everything crossed in the hope that things go a little Pete Tong for Barcelona in the months to come.

Otherwise any campaign pledges such as “it’s time for a change” will sound more than a little silly.

All they have at the moment is “hey, the money’s great, the perks are awesome and it’s a great way to give my business buddies a great gig.” Were they American, that is.

But the signs are strong that unlike the crushingly dull coronation of Florentino Pérez in Castle Greyskull, the Barcelona battle could be a mudslinging sensation, especially if Rosell lives up to expectations in any campaign to come.

AS report that Laporta is a little concerned that secret stuff contained in his laptop that was stolen in April 2008 may start to come out, if it isn’t happening already.

And even Sport reckon that things could get a bit juicy between now and the election.

“It’s the time for secret meetings, pacts, candidate campaigns, polls and dinners to buy off support,” says Casanovas.

La Liga Loca suspects that there will be a lot of fun to come with Barça’s turn to tear itself to pieces just around the corner.

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