Barcelona's Bartomeu could face vote of no confidence over 'unacceptable management'

A group of Barcelona members have announced plans to launch a vote of no confidence against president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board of directors because of the "unacceptable management" of the club.

Cor Blaugrana, the collective of Barca fans from various supporters' groups behind the action, say they have grown fed up with the Catalan club's top brass and argue that change is needed immediately.

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Once the motion is officially filed, Cor Blaugrana will have 14 working days to gather the signatures of 15 percent of the club's members, which is just under 17,000 people.

If they achieve that, the vote of no confidence would then be put to the entire membership base in the form of a referendum. Two-thirds of a potential 154,000 voters would have to go against the board in the second stage in order for an election to be called.

Cor Blaugrana acknowledge that in the current circumstances it will be difficult to pull the coup off, but a spokesman for the group said the state of the club has left them no other option.

"We know we are working against a number of factors," Josep Maria Cremades told Cadena Ser on Wednesday. "We know we can't get signatures at games because fans can't attend, that we're in the middle of a pandemic and that there's an election due next year anyway.

"But we really want to move forward with this vote of no confidence. That's the level of indignation we're feeling right now. The management of the club has been unacceptable."

Bartomeu and his board have come under increasing pressure in recent months. They were accused of hiring a third-party company to discredit presidential candidates, former and current players on social media earlier this year, although an external audit cleared them of any wrongdoing.

In April, citing that case, which became known as Barcagate, among other reasons, six members of the board resigned in protest at the running of the club.

In addition, Barca are facing their first trophy-less season since 2007-08. After exiting the Copa del Rey to Athletic Bilbao and missing out on La Liga to Real Madrid, their only hope of silverware now lies in the Champions League.

Regardless of the outcome of Cor Blaugrana's movement, an election will be held and a new president appointed next summer. Bartomeu, who has stressed he will not resign, will not be able to stand again.

This is the second time Bartomeu has had to deal with a vote of no confidence against him. In 2017, former presidential candidate Agusti Benedito tried to out him but failed to get the 16,570 signatures required to force a referendum.

Speaking to ESPN at the time, Benedito cited the Neymar tax case, former Barca president Sandro Rosell's detainment and the uncertainty over Lionel Messi's future as the main reasons why Bartomeu and his board should resign.