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FC Barcelona have been declared ‘technically bankrupt’ by a leading Catalan journalist.
The Blaugrana are mired in debts repeatedly reported as exceeding €1 billion ($1.075 billion), and had to pull various ‘economic levers’ last summer revolving around the sale of future television rights revenue and stakes of their Barca Studios media production company so that they could make new signings.
Players that Barca brought in ahead of 2022/2023, such as Robert Lewandowski, helped the Blaugrana lift their first La Liga title in four years and a maiden Spanish top flight crown under head coach Xavi Hernandez.
A year later, however, Barca are again struggling to get their house in order and needed to prove to La Liga that they can afford to bring in fresh faces and register their contracts through a viability plan.
The green light for the plan arrived on Tuesday and was too late to stop Lionel Messi joining Inter Milan. And even though they now have the thumbs up, Barca still have to abide by the 40% rule meaning they can only spend €4 million ($4.3 million) for every €10 million ($10.7 million) brought in by still-required player sales and developments in the need to eliminate €200 million ($215 million) from the wage bill.
Xavi’s contract renewal is also another issue, with radio station Cadena SER reporting that manager and club are “far apart” on being able to reach an agreement.
The 43-year-old has allegedly demanded €12 million ($12.9 million) net per season and €30 million ($32.3 million) gross in total for him and his staff.
On the same show that this information appeared, El Larguero, the topic was further discussed by a group of journalists with the highly-respected Ramon Besa from El Pais giving his opinion on the supposed standstill in negotiations.
“I know that Xavi made an effort when he signed with Barca. I do not know what [financial] conditions there are and if the amounts now are compensatory because he has been one of the coaches who has charged less even though winning the league,” Besa pointed out.
“I don’t know if it’s a lot or a little [that Xavi is asking for], because I don’t know the background,” Besa added.
He then stated that Barca are “in a situation of technical bankruptcy” which they are handling “as best” they can, with his words bound to cause a reaction across the media and among Culers worldwide.
Besa did not expand further on this but is a highly-respected and well-informed member of the press.
Though Barca never officially declared themselves bankrupt even at the height of their financial woes, former chief executive Ferran Reverter said in 2021 that the club would have been “dissolved” if it was a public limited company following what he called “disastrous” administration of the club by previous president Josep Bartomeu.
Via a statement that year, after commissioning Deloitte to carry out a Financial Due Diligence audit, Barca also claimed that the “new Board of Directors and its new executive structure encountered an economic and financial situation marked by negative equity and in a situation of technical bankruptcy” when inheriting the leadership.
In 2022, Bartomeu’s successor Joan Laporta explained to CBS that when he took over, the club “had to get out of hospital”.
“A year ago, it was practically Chapter 11. We had to work very hard to revert the financials and avoid bankruptcy. I can say with pride that we did it. One year later, we are in positive equity. That’s very important. This season, we have €1 billion in revenues and €124 million ($133 million) in profits. That means we are getting better and better,” Laporta added.
To gauge where Barca currently stand financially and if there is anything solid behind Besa’s words, their annual report for 2022/2023 should be published around June 30 if the date its 2021/2022 equivalent was released is anything to go by.