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Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu Resigned

Barcelona's Josep Maria Bartomeu resigns after Lionel Messi drama
Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned Tuesday following a summer showdown that saw superstar Lionel Messi unsuccessfully try to leave the club. 

Per Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens, an election will be scheduled within 90 days to vote on replacement options for the board, with a temporary management group overseeing the day-to-day operations of the club. 

Per that report, 20,000 Barcelona supporters signed a petition earlier in October to remove him from his position, setting into motion a vote on his presidency. Bartomeu said Monday that a vote of no confidence had been scheduled for Nov. 1-2, giving no indication he'd be stepping down, per AS:

"Regarding the vote of no confidence, we are waiting for a response from the Generalitat to know if the health situation is maintained so the vote can be held on November 1 and 2. We have always wanted a decentralised vote, in various venues so that as many members as a possible vote, so we asked for 15 more days, but last Thursday we were told that it would be November 1 and 2."

He also told reporters that resigning "has never passed through my mind. It would be irresponsible. With the [coronavirus] pandemic, brave decisions need to be made every day. It would be a bad decision to leave the club in the hands of an administrator."

The situation with Messi over the summer likely sealed Bartomeu's fate at the club. The superstar became disillusioned with the state of the club and tried to cancel the remainder of his contract using a clause that would have allowed him to leave on a free transfer if he triggered it before the end of the season. 

Barcelona and Messi disagreed on that date, with Barca saying it was written in for early June, while Messi argued the COVID-19 hiatus and resumption over the summer pushed the date back. Barcelona won the standoff, and Messi remained. But it was clear that Bartomeu's presence with the Catalonia side was one of the reasons the electrifying forward wanted out in the first place. 

"As I said, I always thought I was free to leave. The president always said at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not," he said in an interview with the media. "Now they cling to the fact I did not say before June 10, when it turns out on June 10 we were competing for La Liga."

Bartomeu countered that he couldn't let a player of Messi's stature leave and potentially join a rival. "I was accused of wanting to force a transfer for financial reasons to 'balance the books,'" he told reporters. "That's not true. I defended the interests of the club, accepting the consequences that refusing Messi's decision to go to one of our rivals would entail."

It's a moot point now. Bartomeu is out after six seasons as president. Messi, who will be free to leave after the 2020-21 season if he so chooses, remains for now. 

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