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By ESPN Staff
Jul 26, 2006

Barcelona to hold presidential election on Sept 3

MADRID, July 26 (Reuters) - Barcelona club members will vote to decide who will be the next president on September 3, the European and Spanish champions said on Wednesday.

A caretaker body headed by economist Xavier Sala y Martin, who will act as president during the election campaign, announced the decision on the club's website.

Earlier in the day, president Joan Laporta and his board resigned their positions to be able to stand for re-election, following last week's court ruling against them.

Judge Roberto Garcia Ceniceros upheld a complaint from three club members who said Laporta had already served his four-year tenure.

He ruled that according to the club's statutes the year ran from July to June, and that since Laporta had officially taken power on June 22, 2003 the eight days before the end of that month constituted his first year in office.

Laporta's four-year term would, therefore, have expired on June 30 this year.

A bid through the courts from four club members to have Laporta barred from standing again for breaking the club statutes was thrown out on Tuesday leaving him and his board free to present themselves for re-election.

The rival thought most likely to have given Laporta a run for his money, former vice-president Sandro Rossell, has declared his intention not to stand.

It remains to be seen whether Laporta will be challenged with other possible candidates complaining about the timing of the election campaign during the summer holidays.

Under Laporta, Barca have won back-to-back Primera Liga titles and the Champions League in May, but some of his recent decisions have angered club members and fans.