The latest on Juan Sartori’s presidency bid - and how it could affect investment in Sunderland this summer
Sunderland co-owner Juan Sartori’s bid for the Uruguayan presidency was well-documented, and his campaign is now ramping up a notch ahead of a pivotal few weeks.
The 38-year-old surrendered all his business interests - with the exception of the Black Cats - in order to run for the political position and is set to discover his fate by the end of this month.
His thoughts still remain close to the Stadium of Light though, with owner Stewart Donald claiming he was one of the potential investment options being considered by the Black Cats.
But that all may depend on how Sartori’s run for presidency develops - with the process set to enter a period which will define the Sunderland co-owner’s ambitions.
The Uruguayan political system is run similarly to that of the United States of America, meaning that primary elections (commonly known as the ‘primaries’) will be held to decide each party’s candidate for the wider general election.
These will be held on June 30, 2019 and Sartori is one of the potential candidates vying to represent the National Party in the general election - but will face some intense competition.
Among the other candidates looking to be named as presidential candidate are Senator Jorge Larrañaga, who ran for the country’s presidency in 2004, and Senator Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou - who narrowly missed out on the presidency in 2014.
Pou is considered the favourite in many quarters, but opinion polls suggest that there is little to separate the potential candidates.
Sartorti’s campaigning, therefore, is vitally important and he has been participating in a number of engagements ahead of the primaries.
The Uruguayan has recently attended events looking to spearhead technology in education and training - something which Sartori has focused on heavily in his campaign - while he also attended a conference on women’s rights and equality.
Sartori also appeared on radio station ‘La Mesa’, presenting the team behind the channel with a Sunderland shirt following his interview.
He took a brief break from campaigning, though, to head to Wembley to cheer on the Black Cats against Charlton Athletic in the League One play-off final.
And as claimed by Donald earlier this week, the Uruguayan could be looking to increase his shareholding in the club with fresh investment a possibility this summer.
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There has long been hope that Sartori could convince his father-in-law, billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, to invest in the club.
And while this may be a long-term option, it seems that Sartori himself could provide a fresh injection of capital this summer as he sits among a number of potential investors.
"I want to stay but I've always said I won't if there is someone who can do a better job,” said Donald.
"We haven't had an offer from anyone outright that I think is worth pursuing but there are one, maybe two, including Juan potentially, who really want to invest in this football club and want to do it now.
"If is say no now I might lose them forever so I have to decide whether or not that's in the best interests of the football club.”
Sartori’s focus in the short-term will be firmly fixed to presidential matters, though, with a crucial few weeks remaining before the all-important primaries.
Should Sartori be successful, he will then have to prepare for the presidential elections in October - where he will be battling a candidate from Broad Front party.
The current president, Tabaré Vázquez, is ineligible to stand for the presidency again with four candidates battling to become the Broad Front’s candidate.
And opinion polls are struggling to separate the two parties, with the most recent poll handing the Broad Front party a 7% lead - although 18% of voters were still classed as undecided.
So should Sartori find his way through the primaries, there seems to be some hope among political analysts that the National Party could claim the presidency.
And were the Black Cat's co-owner to be successful, there are no EFL or FA rules which prohibit the leader of a country owning a share of a club.
Whether the Uruguayan would have the time to commit to Sunderland if he were elected remains to be seen but, with a crucial few weeks ahead, a clearer picture may emerge following the primary elections.