Barcelona presidential candidates confirmed

The names of the five candidates for the Barcelona presidential elections have been confirmed.

Josep Maria Bartomeu, Joan Laporta, Toni Freixa, Agusti Benedito and Joan Batiste are the figures who will contest the position in the forthcoming vote, while Jordi Farre and Jordi Majo failed to acquire the necessary backing.

Each prospective candidate was required to obtain a minimum of 2,534 signatures in order to endorse their candidacy, as well as prove they can generate funds of €76.3 million – a sum known as the aval, which protects the club from potential losses during a financial year. Neither Farre nor Majo accrued the necessary signatures.

Former president Bartomeu, who brought forward the elections to this year, is expected to be a front-runner to regain his post despite the off-field problems which have blighted the club in the past year, including the legal wrangle surrounding Neymar’s transfer and the current ban on transfers.

Bartomeu sent a message of support to Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano and Claudio Bravo ahead of the Copa America final as his candidacy was officially declared, while Laporta was keen to show off the social media backing his team has generated.

Bartomeu also revealed this week that he is eager for the club to sign Arda Turan at the wishes of head coach Luis Enrique and will make the transfer a priority should he be elected.

Laporta, meanwhile, is eager to pursue the signing of Paul Pogba from Juventus and hit out at the club for their handling of a meeting with Juventus officials this week, when a failed €80 million bid was made public.

Benedito finished second in the 2010 elections and has already caused a stir this year when he claimed Barca were looking to offload Messi during the winter, while Freixa and Batiste had confirmed their bids to become president late in the race.

The elections are due to be held on July 18.