By Mukwuzi Joseph
Barcelona President Joan Laporta held a dramatic press conference in which he confirmed the club is €1.35bn in debt and blamed predecessor Josep Bartomeu for ‘lies’ leading to this situation.
The club could not sign Lionel Messi to a new contract even after he accepted a 50 per cent pay cut, and some of their new signings haven’t been registered yet either due to the lack of liquidity.
Laporta held a press conference today in which he confirmed the worst fears of fans.
“Our salaries represent 103% of the club’s total income. That’s 20-25% more than our competitors,” he said.
“The first thing we had to do when we arrived was to ask for a loan of €80m euros because otherwise, we could not pay the salaries. The previous regime was full of lies.”
He accused predecessor Bartomeu and his staff of gross mismanagement to bring one of the world’s biggest clubs to the brink of ruin, insisting the problem went far beyond the effects of the pandemic.
“We found the wage policy in the form of an inverted pyramid – veterans on long contracts and youngsters on short deal. 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.”
Laporta noted they have now taken out a loan of €550m with an interest rate of 1.1 per cent and are trying to restructure the club, although it will take some time.
“The situation 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. I think that in a couple of years, the club’s economy will be healthy.