KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The presidential election of debt-battered Barcelona’s have been postponed on local government ‘advice’ because of Covid-19 restrictions.

The poll was scheduled for a members’ conference on Sunday week. Former president Joan Laporta, the clear favourite, had warned all week against the dangers of a postponement because of the club’s financial troubles.

Laporta, who led the three remaining candidates with more than 10,000 nominations, has said he has reached an agreement that skipper Lionel Messi will stay with the club if he is elected.

His trailing rivals are Victor Font and Toni Freixa. Emili Rousaud withdrew on Wednesday and four other hopefuls failed to pass the nominations threshold.

The government of Catalonia announced on Friday that Barcelona offiicials were postponing the elections because of a recent rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the region and new health restrictions. March 7 has been proposed instead.

The move was announced after a meeting held at Barça headquarters between representatives of the Generalitat, the Catalan government, and Carles Tusques, who has been interim president since Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned in October.

The club asked the Generalitat to consider allowing a postal vote but organisation appears too complex in the time.

Laporta was president from 2003 until 2010.