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Barcelona reschedules presidential elections to March 7

MADRID, Spain (AP) — Barcelona rescheduled its presidential elections to March 7 and members will be allowed to vote by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic, the club said Tuesday.

The elections had been originally scheduled for Jan. 24 but Barcelona was forced to delay the vote because of mobility restrictions imposed by the Catalan government during the pandemic.

Voting will take place at six polling stations and by mail after the Catalan government made a change in the legislation “to allow for postal voting for sporting bodies,” Barcelona said.

Members who are over 65 will be allowed to vote from home.

Polling stations outside Catalonia, with the exception of Andorra, will not be used as originally planned because of the restrictions prompted by the pandemic.

The club reiterated that “the elections are affected by the exceptional circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and for that reason they will be organized following at all times the recommendations of the health authorities in order to protect the health and safety of the voters.”

“During this period the club will continue to work closely with the Catalan government and the health and local authorities to best organize the elections so that they can be carried out in the best conditions possible,” Barcelona said.

The three presidential candidates are Joan Laporta, Víctor Font and Toni Freixa.

Barcelona has been led by a caretaker board since former president Josep Bartomeu resigned in October. He faced the possibility of being ousted in a no-confidence motion supported by thousands of club members furious at the team’s poor performances and the club’s financial situation.

Barcelona lost to Bayern Munich 8-2 in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in August, and its soaring debt forced the club to practically give away veterans like Luis Suárez to slash its salary burden. Lionel Messi later asked to leave the club but had his request denied.

Barcelona plays against second-division club Rayo Vallecano in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. It trails Spanish league leader Atlético Madrid by 10 points and is three points behind second-place Real Madrid entering the second half of the season.

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