BARCELONA

Laporta says Barcelona's economic situation is "severe"

Barcelona's president faced the media to address the club's financial problems. He spoke about Bartomeu and cutting the players' wages bill.

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Laporta says Barcelona's economic situation is "severe"
NACHO DOCE REUTERS

Barcelona president Joan Laporta attended reporters at Camp Nou's Auditori 1899 at midday on Monday to give details of a recent audit into the club's finances and also the situation regarding the squad's wages bill. Laporta also responded to the letter sent by his predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu accusing him of "inaction" as well as the criticism from Jaume Llopis, who resigned from Espai Barça in protest at the way Leo Messi's contract was handled by the club.

The economic situation: "As soon as we arrived, we requested a bridge loan from Goldman Sachs to pay wages. We were limited by that and were not able to work normally in the economic side of things".

Camp Nou: "Camp Nou urgently needs structural work due to the state the stadium is in. We cannot puts the fans' safety at risk".

Loans to service debts: "We found ourselves tied down to loans which came with an interest rate of 9%. By refinancing with 560 million euros at 1%, we have been able to confront the situation. We also discovered that 50% of the television rights from LaLiga has been paid in advance. The previous board, negotiating with the banks, arranged that at 9% interest".

Transfer policy: "We have found ourselves facing a policy which is damaging to the club. It is an inverted pyramid which makes contract negotiations difficult. We also discovered that money had been paid to middlemen, not to agents. Millions were paid out in charges for contacting agents of interesting players in South America. For a signing which cost 40 million we paid signing-on fees of 8 million and a selling-on fee of 2 million".

The previous board's management: "Management breached all of the Assembly's internal control systems. There were invoices, such as ones for I3 Ventures, which did not be passed through internal channels. Invoices were passed through Espai Barça so they didn't go through the usual controls".

Fans back in the stands: "The atmosphere at the stadium was like a breath of fresh air. There were almost 30,000 spectators and they got right behind the team. That was what pleased me. They also behaved responsibly".

Reply to Bartomeu and 'his lies': "I received a letter from the ex-president and the truth is that he was the one who wanted to make it public, which I respect. On reading it, I could see it was full of lies. It is an act of desperation. They were in charge until March 2021. Up until the day he resigned, they were responsible for the consequences of their management and nobody will escape their responsibilities. I don't want the idea that if you repeat a lie enough it will eventually turn into a truth at this club. It is conning people. Everyone knows that we approved the accounts for technical reasons as to not paralyse the club's activities, but that approval does not  we accept what happened in the period between 2019 and 2020.

Joan Laporta during today's press conference

Another lie: "He says he resigned because of the state of emergency protocol and that his board resigned because the vote of no confidence campaign was gathering support and that they wanted to leave to avoid becoming the first board of directors to be kicked out by a vote of no confidence.

The third lie. "They say that after they resigned, they were unable to make economic decisions and that was why there were losses of 375 million, due to the pandemic, but the losses were only 91. None of the budget plans presented for the 2020/21 season were achieved, so ended with negative results of 320 million euros. That provoked a drastic, economic, financial situation for the club. By 31 March 2021, we found out that the debt was 1350 million euros.

Fourth lie: "The salaries were not reduced".

Selling off corporate Barça is the fifth lie. "To that we have to add the income from the Super League and LaLiga's deal with CVC. That's like The Milkmaid and her Pail. It's serious when a president breaks confidentiality. Such a lack of credibility and seriousness is not the way to work".

Sixth lie: Neymar: "He claims that we forgave €16.7 million. That's another lie. That is not true and also, I would like to remind him of the damage he did to Barça with the Neymar case. It was a pack of lies".

Seventh lie: "Inflated salaries because otherwise, it would not be possible to compete with Premier League clubs. While transfer practices have been disastrous in recent years, especially after you have sold Neymar for €222 million. Spending has been out of all proportion and money has gone out left, right and centre. That is what has inflated salaries. We should have invested with more prudence and thought".

Llopis' comments: "I have no comment to make about what Llopis said. That gentleman was not a club director and I have nothing to say. It would be better to say nothing".