Barcelona: Who should be their next president?

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After such an incredibly successful season, one where even Pep Guardiola's treble-winning numbers were knocked out of the park by Luis Enrique's Barca, the club could really do without the upheaval of summer presidential elections.

But, that's exactly what they have. On July 18 at Camp Nou, Barcelona's socio membership will vote in their thousands as to who they would like to represent them.

The elections have actually been called a year early.

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Brief overview

Josep Maria Bartomeu became the first non-elected president in Barcelona's history after disgraced former president Sandro Rosell stepped down, and his running mate installed himself in the top job in an unprecedented move.

A move that did not sit at all well with the Catalan masses, hence the sensible decision to abdicate his position early and put it to the vote.

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Who gets the vote? Let's take a look at the four candidates standing...

Josep Maria Bartomeu

Tainted completely by his association with Rosell and the underhand nature that both went about securing the Neymar transfer, Bartomeu should be considered an also ran.

However, having overseen the appointment of Luis Enrique and presided over a treble winning campaign, and having already secured Enrique and Dani Alves to new deals and signing Aleix Vidal, Bartomeu has pressed all of the right buttons.

Taking his year in the spotlight as a whole, he hasn't actually fared too badly, but the weight of public perception will turn the tide away from him. Very definitely pro-La Masia, Bartomeu can at least be relied upon to support the growth of Barca's famed academy.

Joan Laporta

Laporta will always be synonymous with the greatest period of Barcelona's history. A decision to offer the manager's role to Pep Guardiola rather than Jose Mourinho paid the biggest dividends imaginable.

A confirmed disciple of the Johan Cruyff style and hugely charismatic, Laporta has already stated he will re-open the membership process to all. Something that Rosell stopped, in what could be classed as a tit for tat move against his former friend.

A promise to once again give Unicef more prominence on the shirt has also been gone down extremely well in the locale. Laporta would have to be classed as the favourite in the early stages.

But, is it wise for members to vote for a man who presided over a period that is unlikely to ever be repeated? Looking at something through rose tinted glasses is never the best idea.

Toni Freixa

Former club secretary Toni Freixa has already set out an 11 point plan which he believes is the key to success on an institutional level at Barca.

None too happy that the last board was unable to take the club to the level demanded off the field, Freixa has pledged to "manage in a sensible way," " to protect the excellence of La Masia" and to "raise the role of the socio (member)" amongst other things.

By distancing himself from Bartomeu and his cronies, Freixa has already played a blinder. Whether his policies are radically different from the previous administration will be the key to ultimate success.

Agusti Benedito

A name that not too many outside of Barcelona will be familiar with, Agusti Benedito was nevertheless second in the polls to Rosell in 2010.

At this stage, the only one of the four candidates to have spoken directly with Paul Pogba and to know that it will cost €80 million in transfer fees and an annual €12 million in salary to land one of European football's hottest properties.

Now, as then, Benedito has remained outspoken regarding certain issues within the club. Namely the Qatar Airways sponsorship and the potential naming rights of the "Espai Barca" - essentially the project for the new Camp Nou.

Indeed, Benedito's mandate is clear. He will remove any connection with Qatar at the earliest possible opportunity. Not tied to the past in any way shape or form, Benedito could certainly be considered as a breath of fresh air and a move away from the shenanigans of the last few years.

A true club man with its interests at heart.

Barcelona fans, who do you think should be running the show as of this year? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.

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