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Joan Laporta responds to Josep Maria Bartomeu arrest

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Laporta is a candidate to replace Bartomeu

Joan Laporta, Candidate To FC Barcelona Chairman Photo by Albert Llop/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Joan Laporta, former president of FC Barcelona and a favorite to take over the post again, has responded to the news that the club’s most recent president, Josep Maria Bartomeu.

“It is neither good news nor pleasant news for Barça since this person has been president of FC Barcelona,” Laporta said.

“Although he did not have a good administration, he still has been president of FC Barcelona and it is news that is not pleasant for anyone. The truth is that it is shocking news, certainly.”

Laporta said he would at first presume innocence for Bartomeu, who has reportedly been arrested in connection with the “Barçagate” scandal, when the club was accused of paying a social media company to attack enemies, including at times, current and former players. Bartomeu and several higher-ups were reportedly arrested after Catalan police raided the clubs offices.

“Given the events that have occurred today regarding the records in the club offices, as well as the arrests of the former Barça president and club executives, on behalf of the ‘Estimem el Barça’ campaign, we want to say that we have the utmost respect for judicial and police actions, as well as maximum respect for the presumption of innocence. We deeply regret that these events have occurred, which greatly damage the image and reputation of our club,” Laporta said later in a video statement.

Laporta remains the favorite to take over as club president, a post he has already occupied in the past. Victor Font and Toni Freixa are also candidates to win the upcoming elections.