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Barcelona president Bartomeu calls an early election

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FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu looks on during a FC Barcelona training session at Ciutat Esportiva de Sant Joan Despi

FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu looks on during a FC Barcelona training session at Ciutat Esportiva de Sant Joan Despi

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FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu looks on during a FC Barcelona training session at Ciutat Esportiva de Sant Joan Despi

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has announced presidential elections for the end of this season in a bid to end the club's boardroom crisis.

Bartomeu said he had decided to bring forward the election by 12 months in order to recover "stability" at the club after growing media reports of friction in the both the dressing-room and boardroom.

Bartomeu also spoke of his decision to sack sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta. "Sometimes as president one has to take difficult decisions," he said. "I lost confidence in Zubizarreta and, as I had been the one to hire him following (coach Josep) Guardiola's recommendation, I decided to be the one to dismiss him.

"Zubizarreta did very good things and others that weren't that good. Our confidence in him had deteriorated."

Zubizarreta has been heavily criticised for the club's signings in the summer, which was Barca's last opportunity to bring in new players before January 2016.

Barca signed Luis Suarez from Liverpool but the Uruguay forward has struck just once in nine La Liga games, while Thomas Vermaelen has been plagued by injuries and has not played since his £15m move from Arsenal.

Irish Independent