Laporta to remain as Barca president after vote
BARCELONA, July 7 (Primera Liga) - Joan Laporta insists he will not resign from his post as Barcelona president despite the fact the majority of supporters sided against him in Sunday's vote of confidence.
Fans, disgruntled following a second straight season without silverware, headed to the polls after club member Oriol Giralt collected the 5,882 member signatures required to request a referendum on the Barca presidency.
Two thirds of supporters were required to vote 'yes' in order to force Laporta, who has been president since 2003 and was re-elected in 2006, out of the Nou Camp and a minimum of 10% of the club's members were required to vote.
That number - 15,184 - was achieved around lunchtime, with a total of 37,294 members turning out to cast their ballot.
The majority - 23,870 (60.6%) - voted in favour of ousting the president, but the figure fell short of the 66% that the statute requires for the vote of censure to be successful.
But despite the warning coming from the club's support Laporta has vowed to stay on until his term ends in 2010.
'We'll finish off our term of office with coherence, because we're legitimate and with a sense of responsibility,' he told a press conference following the vote.
He did, however, vow to learn from the outcome.
'The censure vote did not triumph,' he continued. 'But it is a protest vote for what we have done during the last two years.
'The Board of Directors will act accordingly to calm the situation.'
Laporta picked up just 37.75% of the vote, which roughly translates to around 15,000 fans.
While revealing his 'profound respect' for those who voted against him, he highlighted the high number of people who did not present themselves at the urns, remarking that they 'considered that they didn't have to join in'.
Despite the vote not achieving its goal, the man who started it, Giralt, insisted that the outcome could only be positive for the club.
'It may seem contradictory, but in a few months time we will see that Barca is the real winner,' he said.
'It's a democratic exercise which could not possibly cause any social division.
'The Board should read into the results and analyse them profoundly as this is a really good result for us.'
Giralt also insisted that he would not continue to push for Laporta to step down, but admitted that if he were in the president's position he would believe it was the right thing to do.
'I'm not thinking about asking him for his resignation,' he said.
'But, if roles were reversed, if I were president, I would stand down because the result was against us and because it would bring the peace that the club needs.'
One thing the result ensures is that Barca will be able to continue their recruitment process as they try to return to winning ways.
Daniel Alves, Seydou Keita, Gerard Pique and Martin Caceres have all arrived at the club, with economic vice-president Ferran Soriano promising 'news on (Andrei) Arshavin, (Alexander) Hleb and (Emmanuel) Adebayor some time next week'.
Had Laporta been ousted, the new board would have been unable to act on the transfer front for two months, due to the limited responsibilities afforded an interim board in the club's statute.
Now Laporta promised that the club will work hard in the transfer market in order to inspire renewed excitement in the fans.
'We'll have to work hard to gain the confidence of those members who didn't trust us,' he added.
'The sports project will help to regain the confidence of those members who are disappointed.'