Barcelona’s general manager, Ferran Riverter, announced today, Wednesday, that the Catalan club was in “a state of mathematical bankruptcy” with debts amounting to 1.35 billion euros, in addition to problems with cash flow.
“If the club were a limited sports company, this would have caused its dissolution,” Riverer said during a press conference at the “Camp Nou” stadium dedicated to talking about the conclusions of the audit regarding the financial situation of Barcelona, which was demanded by the new administration headed by Joan Laporta and conducted by Deloitte.
“In March 2021, we were in a state of financial bankruptcy, but as a sports association, we were able to refinance the debt,” Reverter said, noting that the club faced “difficulties in paying salaries” due to “almost non-existent incomes.”
To meet this in the short term, the club has borrowed more than 80 million euros “to cover cash obligations within 90 days”, as well as refinancing debts of 595 million euros.
According to Riverter, this audit of the club’s financial situation from the 2018-2019 season until last March 31, concluded that there was “poor management”, and that officials “bought players in detachment from reality.”
Prior to Laporta’s election in March, Josep Maria Bartomeu had been president of Barcelona since January 2014, before resigning under pressure in October 2020.
“When they brought in players, no one thought if we could pay them,” Reverter said on Wednesday. “The same night we signed (Antoine) Griezmann, they realized there was no money to sign him, and they had to ask for money from another fund.”
Between the fall of 2018 and March 2021, the first-team payroll swelled by 61 percent, from 471 to 759 million euros, Riverter added, a total amount reduced by management in the third month of this year to 155 million euros.
Riverer also stressed that there are unusually high commissions for agents when players move “between 20 and 30 percent, which is usually around 5 percent”.
Nevertheless, Barcelona hopes to end the 2021-2022 season with a profit of five million euros.
It is noteworthy that the poor financial situation of Barcelona and the strict restrictions by the Spanish League for Financial Fair Play prevented the Catalan club from renewing its Argentine star Lionel Messi, who left for Paris Saint-Germain in a free transfer deal during the transfer period last summer.