Laporta fights on at Barca after vote defeat

July 9, 2008

MADRID, July 9 (Reuters) - Barcelona president Joan Laporta's defeat in a confidence vote by club members on Sunday has left him with a divided board and facing continued calls for his resignation.

A referendum on Laporta's administration, instigated by Oriol Giralt, saw those critical of his management win 60.6 percent of the approximately 40,000 votes cast by club members, which fell just short of the two thirds necessary to force a new election.

'I have no intention of resigning. We have a legitimate mandate (until 2010), we overcame the motion against us, and we are enthusiastic about the future,' Laporta was quoted as saying in the Spanish media on Wednesday.

On local media reports that certain members of his board were pressuring him to step aside, or to resign themselves, Laporta added: 'I have the support of most of the directors but understand that some might be affected by the situation at a personal level.

'If there are changes in the board it will be understandable.'

All bar one of the Barca board met at a director's house on Tuesday night to discuss a situation that has dominated the city's sports media since the weekend.

'The meeting formed a part of the process of reflection and dialogue that we started after Sunday's vote,' Barca vice-president for sport Marc Ingla was quoted as telling daily El Periodico as he left in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

As Laporta left, he was quoted as saying: 'It was a meeting of friends. Many opinions were expressed and debated and we will continue with it on Thursday.'

Barcelona are scheduled to hold a board meeting on Thursday.