What sets FC Barcelona apart from the vast majority of football clubs are its members. The democratic process is a cornerstone of the institution, and one that should never be taken for granted or under valued. Today nearly 119,000 club members (socios) were invited to attend the Barça Space or New Camp Nou referendum, whatever one wants to call it, and use a 12 hour time span to exercise their democratic right. Democracy is far from a perfect model in whatever sphere, but it’s collectively agreed upon as the best model humanity has managed to come up with thus far. So today in all the glory of democracy, 37, 535 votes were cast, representing 31.65% of total socios. Of those, 27, 161 or 72.36% voted YES. That is an overwhelming majority. But for many, today was democracy in both shame and glory. More than 80,000 members didn’t even pitch (where they reside is not an all encompassing excuse) and 751 people decided it was worth their time to attend and simply submit a blank vote, which is really useful. Like it or not, the people have spoken and as it stands the current club administration have the legal power to begin moving forward with a 600 million euro budget.
Nevertheless, this is only the beginning. Actual construction will only begin in 2017 and the acquisition of permits occurs midway through 2016. What makes these dates so key is they are all post the 2016 presidential elections. Theoretically, if this administration is not re-elected, presumably with Josep Maria Bartomeu at the head, it will be extremely interesting to see what happens. My guess is if say Joan Laporta wins again, or someone with similar animosity towards the current suits, the entire plan could be scrapped or significantly amended. How easy that will be is another story, depending on what contracts are signed and what extent penalty clauses to breach contract would apply. Yet, those are discussions for another day. Today, April 5th 2014, the socios have spoken, and they’ve said yes.
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