Barcelona eye financial turnaround within 'a couple of years'

President Laporta admits situation at La Liga club is dramatic

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said the club is aiming to end their financial troubles within two years, revealing the La Liga giants had ended last year €451 million ($531m) in the red.

"The economic and financial situation of the club is worrying, and the financial situation is dramatic," Laporta said. "I reckon that in a couple of years the club will be healthy," he said, adding that the team have many sponsorship deals open to them.

With their finances in tatters after years of high wages and expensive transfers, the club could not afford to renew their contract with star striker Lionel Messi as that would not fit within the Spanish league’s strict financial fair-play regulations. That resulted in his shock departure to Paris Saint-Germain last week.

The club president revealed Barcelona have debts of €1.35 billion and a wage bill, at €617 m, that is "25 to 30 per cent higher than that of our competitors".

Still, Laporta said he was optimistic about the future, stressing that the club had many options open to it, including some 17 investors interested in Barca Studios, which groups together the club's audiovisual businesses and serves as a hub for events.

Laporta said the club aims to reduce salaries by about €200m and the focus will be on promoting youth players. Some of the players signed in the offseason came as free agents, including Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero.

“We are not scared at all. We are highly motivated,” he said. “It’s a big challenge but we are capable of overcoming it.”

Finances are the priority in La Liga at the moment. Last week, Spain's top clubs approved private equity firm CVC's proposed investment despite votes against from Real Madrid and Barcelona, on the condition that individual clubs can opt out of the deal.

Facing fierce opposition from the country's two leading clubs to the plan that initially targeted €2.7 billion ($3.2 bn) in investment, CVC modified its original proposal shortly before the vote, allowing clubs in La Liga to take part on a voluntary basis.

If Real Madrid, Barca and Athletic Bilbao choose not to join the deal, the investment is likely to total between €2.1-2.2bn, La Liga's Javier Tebas had said.

Updated: August 16th 2021, 3:02 PM
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