Laporta ready to run again for Barca presidency
Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has signalled his intent to put himself forward for re-election in 2016 and attacked the current Barca board on a number of issues, including their decision not to renew defender Eric Abidal's contract.
"I feel prepared and every day I am more excited to return to being president of Barcelona," he told a press conference on Monday.
"To present yourself for elections you have to be motivated and I am. But I have to wait until there are elections. When they are close I will reflect more."
Abidal was signed during Laporta's previous reign as president in 2007 and he claimed that not renewing the contract of the Frenchman after he had returned to playing following a liver transplant had damaged the image of the club.
The 33-year-old was instead offered an ambassadorial role in Barca's football schools rather than another playing contract, which he has refused at least until he has finished his playing career somewhere else.
"The Abidal case has not been handled well. It has damaged the image of Barcelona and disappointed the player.
"The club has shown a contradictory attitude and I think they should have extended Eric Abidal's contract for another year."
Laporta also criticised the current Barca administration, led by president Sandro Rossell, for not doing enough to keep Pep Guardiola at the club when he resigned to take a year out of the game at the end of the season.
Moreover, he believes that Guardiola's influence on the club over the years has been devalued by the Barca board and that current coach Tito Vilanova needs to take a more active role in the formation of the squad for next season.
"I have a very good relationship with Pep Guardiola. I am grateful to him because he was the only person to publicly stand up in our favour. Now they are trying to minimise his work, but Guardiola had a vital importance.
"The academy, the foundation, key people in the history of the club, like Guardiola, all this is being distorted at this moment.
"A coach of Barca cannot simply be a spectator to sporting questions of the club. It surprised me when Tito said that the Barca board will give him the players and he is solely dedicated to training. He has to have a criteria."
Club spokesman Toni Freixa meanwhile refused to respond to Laporta's criticism but insisted there were no plans to call a presidential election before 2016, despite rumours it could be brought forward.
"We respect the opinions of all the members and Laporta is a distinguished member," he told a press conference.
"Our intention is to fulfil our mandate, which finishes in the year of 2016."
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