Joan Laporta laments election defeat to 'prosecuted president' Bartomeu

Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta feels he has let the club down by losing Saturday's election to incumbent Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Bartomeu capitalised on the team's success last season to defeat three challengers despite being a suspect in a fraud case and a FIFA ban on signing new players.

The 52-year-old Laporta finished 21 points and more than 10,000 votes behind Bartomeu, who took over the presidency in January 2014 after predecessor Sandro Rosell resigned.

Laporta, who served as president from 2003-10, accepted the results to keep a "prosecuted president," but lamented what the re-election meant for the direction of the club.

"I want to thank all the socis who voted for us and people who have given us support," he told reporters after the results.

"I wish to congratulate the winner of the election and make it clear that there are two different models of the club.

"We tried to keep the club from being run by a prosecuted president, who is entirely in Qatar's hands and will destroy La Masia, but we couldn't.

"I'm a democrat and I accept the result. It was a very difficult campaign because there were not enough debates, but let's face it.

"When we started out, we knew it would not be easy. There are many socis who understand that our model defended the club."

Meanwhile, third-placed finisher Agusti Benedito echoed Laporta's sentiments while expressing fear the Catalan club will "split in half" politically.

"We must respect the socis' decision," he said in wake of his defeat at Saturday's election.

"However, we will not change our view of Barcelona. The socis of Barcelona have voted for this rivalry to continue.

"We thought Barcelona did not want more polarisation, but ultimately there was little room for alternatives.

"I'm worried now because Barcelona face more divisions and will split in half."

"We fear that there will be no institutional peace at Barcelona."