Barcelona debt hits €1.35bn, Barca president Joan Laporta blames his predecessor Josep Bartomeu

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The current president of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta has blamed the poor management of his predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu for the financial state of the club.

Laporta confirmed that FC Barcelona are €1.35 billion in debt which is majorly caused by the high wages regime introduced by his predecessor before he was forced out of office.

Recall that Bartomeu was the president of FC Barcelona between 23 January 2014 to 27 October 2020 before he was replaced by Carlos Tusquets in preparation for the club’s general election.

Former FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Former FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Before Bartomeu resigned, there was a series of financial mismanagement linked to his regime which refused to go away even after the club’s general election which saw the emergence of Joan Laporta as the club’s president on March 7, 2021.

The debt has affected the club so badly that they had to urge their players to accept a pay cut to enable the club to register their new signings.

It has also forced the club to lose one of their priceless assets, Lionel Messi. Recall that on August 6, 2021, FC Barcelona announced that Messi who has been at the Spanish club for over 21 years would no longer remain a player of the club.

Before then, Barcelona was trying all they could to renew his contract which expired on June 30, 2021, but they failed to do so in the end because the club’s wage bill was already higher than the club’s revenue which is against La Liga’s financial fair play rules.

Hence, Messi had to join Paris Saint Germain for free and has been making money for the French club through the sales of jerseys.

The fact that Messi who was regarded as the highest-paid player at the club has left, has not changed the financial situation of the club. Hence, Barcelona are still pushing to sell some of their superstars to raise more money to clear off their debt.

While reflecting on the state of things at the club during a press conference, Joan Laporta lamented that the club’s wage bill represents “103 percent of the club’s total income. That’s 20-25 percent more than our competitors.”

Barcelona president Joan Laporta.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

“The first thing we had to do when we arrived was to ask for a loan of €80m because otherwise, we could not pay the salaries. The previous regime was full of lies”, Laporta added.

“We also found that we had to do some urgent repairs to the Camp Nou because otherwise, it posed a risk to the attending fans. We also found out that the club had already received 50 percent of the TV rights fees in advance.

“We found the wage policy in the form of an inverted pyramid – veterans on long contracts and youngsters on short deals. There were no wages cuts – lies.

“We have found that disproportionate payments have been made to intermediaries, not even agents.

“Barcelona has a negative net worth of €451m – it is a terrible inheritance. What has been happening is very worrying.

“Bartomeu’s (open) letter is an effort to justify management that is unjustifiable. It is an exercise in desperation. They are responsible for everything until March 7. They will not escape their doing.”

FC Barcelona president appreciate Gerard Pique for accepting a pay cut

Gerard Pique
Gerard Pique.

FC Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, was full of praise for one of the veterans at the club, Gerard Pique for accepting a pay cut that enabled the club to register one of their new signing, Memphis Depay.

He urged other veterans at the club to also accept pay cuts to enable the club to register Sergio Aguero who joined the club for free from Manchester City this summer.

He said: “I thank Pique for his willingness to help the club. His reduction has helped us to register players. We can register Kun (Sergio Aguero) with the agreement we plan to have with the other players. I hope the other captains act like Pique.

Laporta added that the situation at FC Barcelona is “dramatic, but we have good news. “The strategic plan based on our credibility and experience, on the assets that Barca have, makes this situation temporary”, he added. “I think that in a couple of years, the club’s economy will be healthy.

“We are not scared at all. We are highly motivated and positive and morale is high. It’s a big challenge but we are capable of overcoming it.

“I’d like to call on all Barca fans and the entire club to be united. With football and unity, I’m convinced this era will be full of success.”