Benedito ends vote of no confidence against Barcelona board
Agusti Benedito has brought to an end his vote of no confidence against the Barcelona board and president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The former presidential candidate had been given until 23.30 local time on Wednesday by the club to gather the necessary signatures to make his challenge official.
He had accused Bartomeu of being "out of control", citing the loss of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain and the failure to finalise new contracts for Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta as evidence that new leadership was needed.
Benedito is believed to have required the support of 16,750 members but had acquired only 12,504 signatures by the time the deadline passed.
He has therefore confirmed the end of the campaign, with the ballot papers subsequently destroyed by a notary.
There is nothing to thank. It is me who must thank the 12.504 socis (and much more still signing) their support to the vot de censura. https://t.co/lVpqWerImp-- Agustí Benedito (@agustibenedito) September 28, 2017
"[Barca vice-president] Jordi Cardoner gave Wednesday as the deadline," he told a news conference.
"We said we would continue to collect signatures until October 2 but it seems to me that collecting more signatures, knowing they would not be valid, [would be futile]. We have to close the vote of no confidence for consistency's sake, which we will do.
Benedito said the final count would be close to 14,000 signatures when postal votes were taken into account.
However, he intends to lodge a separate complaint against the board after accusing them of contravening the rights of members by not allowing them to keep to the initial deadline of October 2.
"If they had not violated the will of the 'socios', we would have had the third vote of no confidence in the club's history," he said.
He added he would not open a new vote in the near future but suggested others could take up the cause.
"No, we're not planning another vote of no confidence because it's a big effort, financially, too. Although it would not surprise me if someone else did because the reasons remain," he said.