Laporta favourite to return as Barcelona president as three candidates drop out

Joan Laporta is leading the race to become the next Barcelona president, after the candidates have been whittled down to only four.

Monday was the deadline for the nine presidential aspirants to submit the signatures they had obtained from club members.

They needed a minimum of 2,257 to make polling day on January 24.

Laporta, who was the Barca president between 2003 and 2010, had the highest with 10,257 signatures.

Victor Font handed in 4,710 signed forms and is expected to be the closest challenger.

Former board member Toni Freixa (2,821 signatures) and ex-vice president Emili Rousaud (2,510) also made the cut.

The signatures must now be validated and on Thursday, Barca will confirm if all four candidates were able to present the signatures required to stand in the election.

Jordi Farre, who promised free pizzas in exchange for signatures, Xavi Vilajoana, Lluis Fernandez Ala, Agusti Benedito and Pere Riera all failed to gather enough support.

Josep Maria Bartomeu stepped down from the role in October.

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