(AFP) – Jul 10, 2008
MADRID (AFP) — Barcelona's under-fire president Joan Laporta on Thursday survived an emergency board meeting, but eight other leading officials resigned in protest at the Spanish giants.
The eight, including three vice-presidents out of a total of 17 board members, opposed Laporta continuing in his post, said Albert Vicens.
Thursday's meeting followed a weekend vote of confidence which Laporta barely survived.
Vicens said the vote showed club members are "deeply unhappy" with Laporta's leadership of Barcelona, which has failed to win any silverware in the past two seasons.
"Our feeling is not shared by the president nor by those who remain with him," Vicens said in a statement on behalf of the eight.
"We respect the legitimate decision of the colleagues (who remain) and we wish them much success in their work."
Laporta got the backing of just 37.75 percent of the 39,389 club members who took part in the vote at the weekend, while 60.60 percent voted against him staying on until his current mandate at the club ends in June 2010.
To be successful, the motion against Laporta needed to have the support of more than two-thirds of voters.
Laporta, who has headed the club since 2003 and was re-elected in 2006, said Tuesday he had no intention of stepping down.
Under his management the club won back-to-back league titles in 2005 and 2006, along with the Champions League in 2006.
But Barca ended last season in third place, missing out on automatic qualification for the lucrative Champions League.
In May, Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard was dismissed after five years in the job and replaced by Spaniard Josep Guardiola.
The eight who resigned Thursday included the first vice-president, Albert Vicens, the sports vice-president, Marc Ingla, and the vice-president in charge of finance, Ferran Soriano.
The five others were Antoni Rovira, Claudia Vives-Fierro, Evarist Murtra, Xavier Cambra and Josep Lluis Vilaseca.
Laporta will have to appoint replacements for the eight, since the board must have at least 14 members for its decisions to be valid.
Barca was also in turmoil at the end of the 2004-2005 season despite winning the title that year.
Four members of the board, including the sports vice president Sandro Rosell, resigned, accusing the management of failing to carry its original plan for the club.
Rosell, who Laporta believes was behind Sunday's confidence vote, said the current management "is not independent or transparent or democratic".
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