Barcelona edged closer to a change of president on Wednesday when it was confirmed that Josep Maria Bartomeu will face a vote of no confidence after turbulent times at the club.
A petition against Bartomeu passed the required 16 250 signatures last month and those signatures have been officially verified, a group leading the campaign said on Wednesday.
In the referendum, Bartomeu’s opponents will need two thirds of the votes cast to remove him from his post.
Opinion has turned heavily against Bartomeu but it could be difficult to get members to vote due to Covid-19 concerns and restrictions.
Bartomeu had also reportedly been considering resigning if the vote of no confidence was triggered.
Presidential elections would likely be held in January or February, slightly ahead of the scheduled date in March. Bartomeu is not running.
His departure could affect the future of Lionel Messi, who explained in September how the way the club is run had been a key reason for his attempt to leave Barcelona in the summer.
Victor Font is one of the leading candidates to succeed Bartomeu and has linked his campaign to the arrival of Messi’s former teammate Xavi Hernandez as coach, although Font suggested this week Ronald Koeman could also continue with Xavi taking up a different role.
Joan Laporta, the president who appointed Pep Guardiola coach in 2008, is also in the running.