The debt of Spanish football giants Barcelona has risen to €1.35 billion, the club’s president has revealed.
Joan Laporta confirmed that the club had losses in 2020-21 of €481 million and was left with a negative net worth of €451 million.
Laporta blamed the club’s previous administration for the “dramatic” and “complicated” situation that made it difficult for Barcelona to negotiate with players and ultimately led to the departure of Lionel Messi.
“Our salaries represent 103% of the club’s total income, that’s 20% to 25% more than our competitors,” Laporta said in a news conference on Monday.
While presenting the club’s dire financial situation, Laporta accused his predecessor Josep Bartomeu of countless “lies” and stated that he and his board of directors must be held accountable.
Bartomeu resigned last year amid financial struggles, but recently published a letter in which he denied any wrongdoing during his administration.
Nearly €390 million of Barcelona’s debt is related to player salaries, while more than €670 million was debts with banks, and another €40 million was linked to membership losses. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was also €91 million, Laporta said.
“We have found ourselves in a difficult situation to renegotiate the players’ contracts,” he told reporters but said that the situation would be resolved within a few years.
“We are not scared at all, we are highly motivated. It’s a big challenge but we are capable of overcoming it.”
Laporta said the club intends to reduce salaries by about €200 million and focus on promoting youth players. This summer, Barcelona signed a number of high-profile free agents, including Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, and Eric Garcia.
Joan Laporta is a founding partner and owner of the Law Office Laporta & Arbós Advocats Associats.
Bachelor of Law from the University of Barcelona. Master in Company Law and Tax Experts from the Abat Oliba CEU University. Diploma in Arbitration Law from the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona and Diploma in Business Law from the Bar Association of Barcelona. Referee of the ICC International Court of Arbitration of Paris. Member of the Advisory Board of the Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences of the Pompeu Fabra University.
He has been a collaborating professor at the Real Estate and Registry Law Seminar of the Higher Polytechnic School of Building of Barcelona. He has exercised as a personal advisor to the Japanese consul in Barcelona.
President of FC Barcelona from 2003 to 2010. During his tenure, FC Barcelona was one of the promoters, in January 2008, of the European Clubs Association (ECA), of which Laporta was Vice President (2008-2010). Joan Laporta occupied other high positions of responsibility in the main soccer estates: member of the FIFA Strategic Committee; director of the UEFA European Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC); Director of the G-14 European Football, member of the Board of Directors of the Royal Spanish Football Federation and Vice President of the Catalan Football Federation.
Joan Laporta stepped into the world of politics and founded, in 2010, Democràcia Catalana, Catalan party, democratic, humanist, progressive, defender of human and collective rights. Joan Laporta was Deputy in the Parliament of Catalonia from 2010-2012, and Council of the Barcelona City Hall from 2011-2015.
On March 7, 2021, he again won the election to the presidency of the Club, becoming the first democratically elected president of the history of FC Barcelona to lead the Club in two different stages, separated in time.
He is member of the Bar Association of Barcelona and patron of the Johan Cruyff Welfare Foundation.
Joan Laporta is also a referee of the ICC International Court of Arbitration in Paris;