Joan Gaspart is to stand down as president of FC Barcelona. After a day of intense speculation about his future, Gaspart left a meeting of club directors to announce that he would be resigning from the post on 1 March.
"I am Barcelona president until 1 March," he said. That is the day of the next general assembly of club members, when presidential elections will be called for June. Gaspart will not stand for re-election, while his immediate successor will be Enric Reyna, a club official who will oversee the leadership contest.
Gaspart's decision follows a traumatic season at Camp Nou. Barcelona are currently 15th in the Spanish Primera División table, three points off the relegation places. Last week they parted company with coach Louis van Gaal, replacing him with Radomir Antic.
Called to resign
The onfield turmoil has reflected the situation off it, where Salvador Alemany recently became the sixth Barcelona vice-president to walk away from the job during Gaspart's two-and-a-half year reign. Gaspart beat Lluis Bassat in the race for the presidency in 2000 but Bassat subsequently led calls for the 58-year-old businessman to resign.
Good and bad
"I was a good vice-president and a bad president," Gaspart said tonight. "I honestly believe this [resignation] is the best thing for Barça." The Catalan media and many fans also railed against Gaspart's management of the club, believing it was the main reason for Barcelona's failure to win a trophy following his election.
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