Madrid, Spain | Xinhua | FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta on Monday said that the club had a debt of 1,350 million euros in a long and detailed press conference in which he attempted to explain the economic situation of the club.
The Barca president was speaking 10 days after it was confirmed the club could not keep Leo Messi, who has since joined Paris Saint-Germain, due to financial fair play issues.
Laporta told the press Barca have a total gross debt of 1,350 million euros (about 1,590 million U.S. dollars), with a negative net worth of 451 million euros and a net debt of 551 million euros, according to an audit carried out by the accountants, Ernst and Young, which was commissioned when he returned to the club presidency in March.
As he explained, “673 million are bank debt; 389 debt with players, including deferred salaries and payment commitments for various concepts such as loyalty and career bonuses; 96 million euros for litigation in which the club thinks that our claims will not be estimated, 40 million for the season tickets that were not used last year (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and 79 million euros for the advance of 50% of the television rights of La Liga, among other concepts.”
“The situation has forced us to work to make a strategic plan and show the auditors and our creditors that we are a running company,” he added.
Laporta insisted that in this context it had been impossible to keep Messi.
“Like all Barca fans. I would have preferred to see him at Barca although I am convinced that we have made the right decision because the institution is above everyone else. The situation was dramatic,” he said.
However, Laporta said he was content to see Messi looking happy after joining PSG. “He deserves it just like his whole family…What I can tell you is that we did everything possible within the economic possibilities of the club,” he commented.
Laporta also strongly criticized former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, accusing him of lying, of not carrying out financial controls and letting the condition of the Camp Nou stadium decline to a point where it “needs serious structural work.”
He also said the club was negotiating with some players, such as Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto to lower their wages, and insisted they would do everything possible to not have to sell players such as Pedri and Ansu Fati.