Benedito launches no-confidence vote against Barcelona board
BARCELONA -- Former Barcelona presidential candidate Agusti Benedito said Josep Maria Bartomeu must resign as a matter of urgency after launching a vote of no confidence against the club's president and his board.
Benedito, who ran to be the club's president in 2010 and 2015, officially requested the ballot papers from the club's offices at Camp Nou on Friday to get the motion underway.
Barca now have five working days to facilitate the papers and Benedito will then have 14 working days to gather the signatures of 15 percent of the club's members, which he estimates is around 16,500 people.
"This board has done a staggeringly bad job," he said as he left Camp Nou. "Bartomeu should resign, he is out of control. We are facing a really important institutional crisis and must act."
The sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain and the Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid this summer have added to the feeling of discontent toward Bartomeu, but Benedito has other reasons for the vote of no confidence.
Benedito says Bartomeu's deal with the public prosecutor to settle the tax evasion case relating to the signing of Neymar from Santos was worthy of immediate resignation.
"He agreed to condemn the club for a tax offence and paid a fine of €5.5 million," Benedito told ESPN FC. "He did that to save himself and [former Barca president Sandro] Rosell from prison."
Benedito also says that the subsequent detainment of Rosell as part of a money-laundering investigation and the links it could have to the club's relationship with Qatar are also grounds for Bartomeu, Rosell's friend and successor, and his board to immediately resign.
Other candidates from the 2015 presidential election Joan Laporta and Toni Freixa support Benedito's movement, with the former particularly vocal in his disdain for the current board.
Club members will now have the final say, though, and will have two big opportunities to sign the vote of no confidence when Barca resume after the international break with home matches against Espanyol and Juventus.
If the vote of no confidence carries to the next stage, two-thirds of a potential 152,000 voters must go against the current board in the second stage in order for a new election to be called.
Barcelona Jordi Cadroner vice-president responded to Benedito's no confidence vote later on Friday.
He said: "Agusti Benedito will have later this afternoon the 33,140 ballot papers in order to try and achieve the 16,570 signatures that are required within 14 working days, from this Saturday, to take the vote of no confidence forward.
"As a democratic club, owned by all of our members, we understand that, in deference to other clubs, this is something which any of our members are free to do.
"That said, we feel that now is not the right moment for the vote of no confidence. We believe this action would be more appropriate if it were carried out at the end of the season, when you can make a full assessment, both in sporting terms and in terms of the board. It should not be lodged once the season has begun."
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.