BARCELONA: Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has signalled his intention to return to the helm of the Spanish champions when elections are held in 2016.Laporta held the Barcelona presidency from 2003 to 2010 – a period in which the club won four Primera Division titles and two UEFA Champions League trophies.

He was succeeded by current incumbent Sandro Rosell, who in April stated his intention to seek re-election beyond the end of his six-year term. Rosell has attracted some controversy over past business links with the disgraced former president of the Brazilian confederation, Ricardo Teixeira.

“Every day I’m more excited and more ready to be president again,” said Laporta, according to the AS newspaper. “There will be elections in 2016 and that will be the time to reflect if I can do it on a professional, personal and family level.”

Rosell has helped to turn around Barcelona’s finances by reducing debt and increasing revenues since succeeding Laporta. Barcelona signed off on record profits of E48.8m for the 2011-12 season.

July’s figures marked a significant achievement for the Primera Division giant, which had targeted a return to profit following losses of E9.3m and E83m in the previous two seasons.

Barcelona’s total debt, which once stood at E420m 2010, was reduced to E335m. However, Laporta has criticised Rosell’s reign – in particular the controversial decision to hand the club’s shirt sponsorship rights to the Qatar Foundation.

“The Qatar sponsorship is another lie,” said Laporta. “I would prefer the shirt to bear the UNICEF logo. First it was the Qatar Foundation, now it’s Qatar Airways.”

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

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