Barcelona’s president presented a grim picture of the club’s financial situation on Monday, saying its debt had risen to €1.35 billion.
Joan Laporta blamed the previous administration of Josep Bartomeu for the club’s “dramatic” situation that ultimately led to Lionel Messi’s departure. Laporta accused Bartomeu of countless “lies” and said he and his board of directors must be held accountable.
Laporta said the club had losses of €481 million and was left with a negative net worth of €451 million, making it difficult to negotiate with players.
“Our salaries represent 103% of the club’s total income. That’s 20% to 25% more than our competitors,” Laporta said in a news conference. “We have found ourselves in a difficult situation to renegotiate the players’ contracts.”
The club lost star player Messi to PSG this month because it could not give him a new contract that would fit within the league’s strict financial fair-play regulations.
The club’s debt included almost €390 million related to player salaries, Laporta said. More than €670 million was debts with banks, while some €40 million was linked to membership losses.
Gerard Pique said on Sunday he had to take a salary reduction so the club could register some of its new players and that other veteran players such as Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto were expected to do the same.