Josep Maria Bartomeu won the right to be FC Barcelona's president for the next six years in a landslide election. While the majority of our readers preferred Joan Laporta by a wide margin, per a poll we did a few days ago, the socis elected Barto.
Regardless of how you feel, he's the president now. Barring some unusual step, he will be in charge, and it does little good to lament how another president would have been better. (Even if he is forced to resign, logic dictates someone in his project would take over.)
Instead, we should talk about Barto's flaws and how he can fix them.
Bartomeu was attacked often by the other presidential candidates for supporting Qatar Airways as a shirt sponsor. FC Barcelona has traditionally not had a shirt sponsor, and while many begrudgingly accept the need for a shirt sponsor as an economic reality, they drew the line at Qatar.
The Qatari government has been accused of such serious crimes as sponsoring terrorism and using slave labor. Of course the Qatari government has their story and their share of defenders, but from FC Barcelona's point of view, it's not in their best interest to become one of them.
Of course, if you believe Barcelona's ties with Qatar to be morally unacceptable, then cutting them off is a no-brainer. However, if you are less sure, my argument would be that simply because of the image problem, it casts Barça in an unflattering light contrary to the club's spirit.
To give Barto credit, he has apparently worked out alternative deals to get a different, less controversial shirt sponsor on board. Rakuten, a Japanese company, could be chosen instead.
Now is the time to follow through.
Handling of La Masia
Another source of controversy. Simply put, Bartomeu has his plans and his appointments, and again, since we can't block them, we can only see them develop.
Many experts are skeptical of what he's doing, but Bartomeu can prove himself right in the long run. He just better be sure.
Relationship with Messi
Bartomeu's relationship with Lionel Messi seems far from ideal, though it is at least outwardly cordial. Laporta claimed to have a "telepathic" understanding with the #10, but the voters perhaps saw it as superficial with Messi unwilling or unable to return the praise.
Bartomeu's quip that he is not telepathic, but that he simply phones Messi, was maybe his best moment, leaving Laporta seeming overly grandiose while painting himself as a practical leader.
The rhetoric is there, but it won't mean a thing without good action. Javier Faus, Bartomeu's vicepresident, handled things poorly with Leo last time 'round and the Argentine was quick to hit out at him publicly.
Demoting or cutting Faus out completely would send a strong message to Messi not to start screening Barto's calls.
Not much to do here, as he's either guilty or he's not. Present a good defense, I suppose. In the future, don't commit fraud.