Born in Barcelona in 1963, Josep Maria Bartomeu became president of FC Barcelona on January 23rd 2014 because he was vice president at the time of predecessor Sandro Rosell's resignation.
In his youth, he played basketball in the juniour teams of FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol and later with CD Mollet and CD Santa Coloma so his connections with the club go back a long way.
In fact, he has been a member of FC Barcelona, with membership number 16,836, since 1974.
He first met Sandro Rosell when they studied Business Studies together at the Barcelona business school ESADE in their early twenties and the two of them formed part of the candidacy with which Joan Laporta was first elected president of FC Barcelona in 2003.
Under Laporta, Bartomeu was the board member responsible for basketball, handball and hockey and in the 2003-04, the FC Barcelona basketball team won the Liga ACB and the Spanish Supercopa.
The following season Laporta named Valero Rivera head of the other Sports Sections and Manolo Flores as basketball coach and when Bartomeu openly showed his disagreement with the appointments, he was relieved of his duties.
In 2005, Bartomeu resigned from the FC Barcelona board along with Sandro Rosell and three other board members.
When Sandro Rosell stood for the F Barcelona presidency on July 1st 2010, Josep Maria Bartomeu formed part of the candidacy and once eected, Rosell appointed Bartomeu vice-president responsible for sport.
As a result of the Neymar case, Rosell was called to appear in court by
Judge Ruz and after first denying allegations ended up resigning on
January 23rd 2014.
As Sports vice-president, Bartomeu occupied the presidency initially announcing his intention to complete the term of office, which finished on June 30th 2016.
The beginning of the Bartomeu presidency wasn't particularly successful in sporting terms as he had inherited infrastructures and problems from Rosell and Laporta.
In April 2014, FIFA announced that FC Barcelona would not be able to sign any new players during two transfer windows - January and Summer 2015 - as a punishment for signing under age players at youth level.
Furthermore, under the unconvincing coach Gerardo Martino, the football team finished the 2013-14 season without winning any titles and the Neymar Case has continued present with Bartomeu also having been ordered to appear in court.
However, Bartomeu has been able to make changes for the 2014-15 season bringing in former player Luis Enrique Martínez as first team coach and spending €157 million on new signings, most notably Luis Suárez.
A shaky start to the season added to heavy criticism of the new signings, particularly Vermaelen and Douglas, led to a crisis following a defeat against Celta just after Christmas.
As a result, Bartomeu sacked various staff members, including most notably technical director Andoni Zubizarreta and announced elections at the end of the season, which he won quite comfortably, by the way.
After the announcement, team performances improved significantly and the team went on to have a stellar season winning La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the fifth Champions League with a final against Juventus.
This meant that the first team were involved in six competitions in 2015-16 and after a promising start winning the European Super Cup, the Spanish Super Cup and later the FIFA Club World Cup, the side ended up winning a Copa del Rey and Liga double but were knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter finals.
A summary of Josep Maria Bartomeu as FC President would that he is a popular and unobtrusive and has allowed the players to get on with the job of playing football and winning trophies.
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