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Barcelona chief Bartomeu calls end-of-season elections

By Tim Hanlon

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has called presidential elections for the end of the season as a result of dissatisfaction with his running of the La Liga club, he told a news conference on Wednesday.

The Catalan club were due to hold elections in 2016 but Bartomeu has decided to bring them forward a year following the dismissal of sports director Andoni Zubizarreta last Monday.

“I have taken the decision so as to ease the tension which I believe to be disproportionate and doesn’t reflect the reality of the club,” Bartomeu told a news conference at the Nou Camp.

“It is a club which is functioning well, we are going to construct a new stadium and on the sporting front we are still in all the competitions.

“I ask that there is ‘fair play’ among all the candidates (for the election) and we all concentrate on what is best for the club.

“It is best that mandates are completed but there has been too much tension over the last few weeks. We will continue our programme now and there will be no changes there. I have talked with the other board members but it is me that takes the decisions.

“We will seek re-election. We started in 2010 and we want to keep going.”

Zubizarreta’s sacking came in the aftermath of a FIFA ban on signings for two windows for a breach of rules on the transfer of foreign Under-18 players.

Bartomeu said that it was necessary to make a change but that the dismissal was not directly related to the transfer ban.

The president added that Zubizarreta’s replacement would be someone who knows the club well.

“Zubizarreta has been in charge of the remodelling of the club but there has been a loss of confidence and so we decided that we needed to take action,” said Bartomeu.

“This is nothing out of the ordinary, when there is a lack of confidence then you have to make changes.

“Focusing on who will replace him then it will be someone from the club or someone who has been at the club. We want somebody that has Barca DNA.

“I want to clarify that Zubizarreta was not part of transfers that led to the FIFA sanction, he did not authorise those signings.

“Zubizarreta and (coach) Luis Enrique have worked well together and we aim to name his replacement in the coming days.”

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