The Catalan side released their latest financials on Monday, and President Joan Laporta explained in a two-hour press conference that while the club is still struggling, his administration has been able to figure out the underlying issues and hopes to get rid of a huge number of clubs. debt in the next year or two.
Barça is trying to recover not only from a flawed balance sheet, which in January showed negative working capital of over $ 711 million, but also from the management crisis that led to Laporta becoming president of the club in March.
“We asked [additional] A € 80 million ($ 94.2 million) loan from Goldman Sachs when we took over in the spring because we realized we couldn’t pay salaries, ”Laporta said, which is part of a total $ 701 million loan package. from an American financier.
He won the March 7 elections after former President Josep Maria Bartomeu and his first deputy, Jaume Masferrer, were arrested as part of a financial abuse and corruption investigation known as Barçagate.
Laporta said the club was able to reduce the deficit to $ 488 million, with revenues of $ 771 million and expenses of $ 1.41 billion. Although this balance sheet continues to “complicate” the club’s relationship with creditors, Barça managed to raise “550 million euros ($ 647.7 million) at a very good interest rate of 1.1%,” added Laporta.
The financial situation of Barcelona has deteriorated due to COVID-19, losses from the pandemic amounted to $ 107 million.
One of the club’s main problems is the expensive players acquired during Bartomeu’s reign. Even after selling Neymar Jr. in 2017 and bidding farewell to Lionel Messi, who signed with PSG last week, Barça players earn $ 726.6 million, “25-30% more than their competitors.” – said Laporta.
“We found a flawed player contract policy,” Laporta said. “It was an inverted pyramid; veterans had long-term contracts, while young people had short contracts. This made it difficult to renegotiate contracts. ”
The new administration says it has been able to cut spending on player contracts by $ 80.1 million. “It’s not really a cut because we found it in the form of termination bonuses,” he said. Laporta also mentioned that they learned that the previous administration paid huge amounts of money to “third parties” to find “interesting young players” in South America.
The famous Camp Nou stadium was also in need of work, Laporte said. He cited a 2019 report stating that failure to make repairs would entail a “risk for viewers.” The club completed the $ 2 million project during the summer break, he said, and on Sunday Barça played their first game, beating Real Sociedad 4-2 without putting “fans at risk”.
Laporta said the club needs to cut another “200 million euros” ($ 235.5 million) from its football budget, but it is in a better position. According to him, with the loan from Goldman Sachs: “I think now we can handle it.”