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Campaign launched to topple Barcelona football president

Barcelona (AFP) – A vote of no confidence against Barcelona’s beleaguered board was launched by a disgruntled member of the club on Friday with the aim of removing president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Agusti Benedito, who lost out to Bartomeu in club elections in 2015, attended the club’s offices at the Camp Nou stadium to request the ballot papers necessary for his censure motion.

“The crisis at Barcelona is social, institutional and economic,” said Benedito.

“I believe that (the motion) is viable because Bartomeu has been out of control for weeks.”

Benedito needs the backing of 16,500 members, 15 percent of Barca’s 110,000 ‘socios’, in the next 14 working days for the motion to proceed.

If he is successful, all members will be called to vote on the motion which could remove Bartomeu if two thirds of the fanbase vote in favour of Benedito’s campaign.

“Now is not the right moment to do this,” said Barca vice-president Jordi Cardoner.

“From our perspective, we believe these actions are more adequate at the end of the season.”

Neymar’s world record 222-million-euro ($264 million) move to Paris Saint-Germain piled extra pressure on Bartomeu following a disappointing campaign last season in which Barca only won the Copa del Rey.

The Catalan giants’ haphazard attempts to rebuild without the Brazilian have also attracted criticism.

French prodigy Ousmane Dembele, 20, was signed from Borussia Dortmund for an initial fee of 105 million euros that could rise to 145 million depending on bonuses.

However, even at Dembele’s presentation in front of 18,000 fans at the Camp Nou on Monday, there were calls for Bartomeu to resign.

Barca have also failed with a series of bids to land Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool.

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