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Sunday 7 March is a huge day for FC Barcelona. The club, in keeping with its historic belief in upholding democratic values, will be voting for its new president and board of directors, the people that will be running the greatest club in the world until 2026.
The three candidates to become the 42nd Barça president are Joan Laporta, Antoni Freixa and Víctor Font. Which one it will be depends on the way the members vote this weekend.
The club has picked its leader in many ways since its foundation in 1899. There have been general elections on fourteen occasions since 1953, but voting was restricted to male members only until after the dictatorship. 2021 will be eighth elections with truly universal suffrage.
This year things are like never before. There is a pandemic, which meant the original date had to postponed and for the first time not only has postal voting been an option, but there are polling stations in six different places. And everything will be happening under extremely strict control to ensure the maximum turnout while also respecting all Covid-19 precautions.
Electorate of 110,290
All club members are entitled to vote, provided they are of legal age, have been members for at least one year and have not had their membership suspended for some reason. That’s 110,290 people, although 22,811 of those opted to cast their votes by mail, of which 20,663 eventually did so.
Those ballot papers are now being safely guarded in Sala Roma at the Camp Nou, and will be added to the count on Sunday evening along with those cast in person at FC Barcelona and the five provincial stations in Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, Tortosa and Andorra. That’s a potential total of 87,479 voters.
The polls open at 9.00am CET and close at 9.00pm CET. To avoid crowding, voters have been allocated recommended time slots.
Everything happening on election day is conditioned by strict safety measures that have been endorsed by Procicat, the organisation responsible for overseeing the application of Covid-19 restrictions in Catalonia.
Naturally, facemasks and social distancing are compulsory and voters will not be able to loiter. They will all be instructed to head straight to the polling tables and remain on the premises for no longer than is strictly necessary.
The various zones on the FC Barcelona premises will be cordoned off, and people will not be allowed to move between zones. The only people that can go into the voting zones will be members carrying the required identification.
Non-members will not even be allowed to enter if they are accompanying members that need assistance. Anyone with limited mobility will instead be assisted by the T’Acompanyem service and Red Cross volunteers.
Parking and pedestrians
Election day typically involves a number of other fun activities in and around the stadium. Not this year. Voters will be expected to arrive at the ground, cast their vote, and then leave immediately.
On-site parking is available for up to 1,700 vehicles, while there will also be space for vehicles outside (as will also be the case at the provincial polling stations). Pedestrians will be assigned separate lanes to ensure social distancing requirements are met.
There will be four information stands at the Camp Nou: at the North Goal, South Goal, Grandstand and Boulevard.
- Documents for entering the site:
Nobody that does not have an FC Barcelona membership card for 2021 or 2020 will be permitted entry to the premises.
- Documents for voting:
Voters must bring their national ID card (or diving licence or passport in the case of foreigners) and expired cards shall not be accepted. Membership cards are not valid for voting.
VOTING IN PERSON
Barcelona, 78,987 members:
101 Tables at Camp Nou
10 Tables at Palau Blaugrana
(Two special tables at OAB to deal with incidents and at the OAE for members with reduced mobility)
Girona, Fontajau pavilion (Avda President Josep Tarradellas, 22-24)
3,707 members: 5 Tables
Lleida, Offices of the Federació Catalana de Futbol (Carrer Riu Besòs, 8)
1,264 members: 2 Tables
Tarragona, Camp Clar sports centre (Carrer Riu Siurana s/n)
2,200 members: 3 Tables
Tortosa, Offices of the Federació Catalana de Futbol (Carrer Adrià d’Utrecht, 5, baixos)
616 members: 1 Table
Andorra la Vella, Palau de Congressos (Plaça del Poble s/n)
705 members: 2 Tables.
30 Tables in Sala Roma (Camp Nou)
Modules for candidatures and observers
Each candidacy will be assigned a module at the South Goal with a strict maximum capacity of 30 people due to Covid-19 measures, all of whom will have to take an antigen test before being allowed entry.
Each candidacy is entitled to appoint up to 42 observers, who must all be FC Barcelona members, and distributed as follows: Camp Nou 30; Palau 3; Sala Roma 3 (postal votes) and one at each provincial polling station (two in the case of Girona).
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