Barca elections to be held in 2015

The elections have been brought forward to ease the crisis at the Catalan club, with sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta sacked this week and assistant Carles Puyol departing

Incumbent Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has announced the club will hold an election at the end of the current season.

An election was due to be held in 2016 but Bartomeu has decided to bring it forward to due to pressure on the club, as issues on and off the pitch have mounted this season.

After turning up an hour late for Wednesday’s press conference, Bartomeu said: “Sorry for the delay. I have called this press conference to communicate we have decided to call elections at the end of the season.

“The elections have been called to ease the pressure around the club. It’s undue pressure as this club works well socially and economically.”

Bartomeu, who confirmed he would stand, added: “I ask all candidates to use fair play during the campaign as they talk to socios who will vote.

“In the end the most important thing is that the team fights for trophies, so everyone - including the candidates and supporters - should work towards that.”

Former president Joan Laporta is keen on a return to Camp Nou and intends to bring Pep Guardiola back as sporting director.

It has been a troubled spell in charge for Bartomeu, who took over the presidency in January 2014 following the resignation of Sandro Rosell.

Rosell stood down after being accused of the misappropriation of funds relating to the transfer of Neymar to Barca in the summer of 2013.

The club has also seen a two-window transfer ban upheld by the Court of Arbitration of Sport after being found guilty of breaching transfer regulations and will not be able to sign any new players in 2015.

On Monday, Bartomeu sacked director of football Andoni Zubizarreta while speculation is rife that coach Luis Enrique and star striker Lionel Messi are at loggerheads.