Barcelona’s crippling debt ‘is approaching a BILLION EUROS with almost half of it to be paid within a year’, leaving the club facing more radical cuts to avoid insolvency
- Barcelona’s financial situation has been impacted massively by coronavirus
- The club’s debt has grown following a sizeable hit to the LaLiga side’s income
- It means a period of austerity looms for them as they fend off insolvency
Barcelona‘s growing debt is set to force the club into a period of dramatic austerity, with the Catalan giants owing nearly £1billion to creditors.
The LaLiga side announced during the 2019-20 season that it expected to be the first club to break the £1bn barrier for income in a single year in football, however that figure was blown off course by the coronavirus pandemic.
As a result, the club took a loss of almost $100m (£73.5m) for the campaign, and there are concerns this season could be worse.
Barcelona are facing a moment of real financial toil and are trying to stave off insolvency
And according to Catalonia’s leading newspaper La Vanguardia, that has added to the total the club owes, with a net debt of €500m being topped up by a ‘runaway’ deficit amounting to more than €400m.
The piece explains that the next president and his board will have to deal with the situation as a priority, with €420m of that debt owed in the next 12 months.
That is something the club cannot currently afford, and so a expensive restructuring of those debts will likely be needed, throwing the club into a further financial hole.
There is also the small matter of the club’s wage bill, which was restructured by Josep Bartomeu in the height of the cornavirus pandemic in a bid to ease the club’s outgoings last year.
That saw players agree to forego nearly half the entire wage bill, with €170m of the €355m paid to stars annually withheld.
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However, that money is still due to be paid, with €45m extra due to players each year for the next four seasons.
This is a huge extra burden on the Nou Camp outfit, which already spend 70 per cent of its budget on transfers and wages. In fact, no football club in the world spends more money on wages than Blaugrana.
There are issues, too, with the budget agreed for this current campaign, with the projected income of €791million based on several theoretical issues, some of which it is already clear have not – and will not – come to fruition.
That budget was based on fans being allowed back into the Nou Camp from December, with the stadium opened at 25 per cent capacity. That has not happened, nor is it likely that the target of a full Nou Camp by February will be met.
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Indeed, €320m of that figure is meant to be generated by fans visiting the stadium, museum and club stores along with other services. It appears a wholly fanciful one in the current climate.
One source told La Vanguardia: ‘Those accounts also included expectations of renewal with sponsors such as Rakuten – €55m – or Beko, €19m, which will not be met.’
Fingers are being pointed at Bartomeu and the legacy he is leaving behind, with a series of highly expensive signings having failed to make the grade at Barcelona in the form of Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann.
Lionel Messi is still due a further €39million payment as part of his latest contract agreement
The current predicament played it’s part in the saga involving the future of Lionel Messi during the summer.
The player’s unhappiness was caused in part by the club dragging its feet on a €39m payment due to him as part of his contract.
Eventually that was paid in July, however a second payment for the same amount is due at the end of the current season.but it has been reported this has been absorbed in the outstanding wages due over the next four years.