Almost a billion euros in debt… Nine hundred million to be precise. It is the vertiginous and yawning chasm on the edge of which FC Barcelona is located, according to the Catalan daily La Vanguardia. A huge black hole threatening one of the brightest stars on the planet of football, which is visibly pale. Barça is not in the best of its form, neither sportingly, nor especially financially while looming its eighth-final of the Champions League against PSG (first leg on February 16 at Camp Nou, return on March 10).
The deficits accumulated over the seasons therefore lead to this astronomical sum, a significant part of which (420 million euros) must be purged by the end of the year. The context is not to the celebrations, one suspects it, and the elections for the presidency of the club which will take place finally at the beginning of March (they had been initially programmed on January 24) between the favorite Joan Laporta and two outsiders, Victor Font and Toni Freixa, announce themselves tense. The future seems more than uncertain.
Camp Nou behind closed doors, a real blow
“It’s worrying, that’s for sure, it’s very serious,” said Pierre Rondeau, specialist in the economy of sport and football in particular. Especially since the Catalan club counted on 791 million euros of income for the current season, including 320 related to the stadium (ticket office, museum, income from shops and services), but based on a filling rate of the Camp New 25% from December, then 100% from February. However, the closed door rule linked to the health crisis risks applying to the entire season and depriving it of all these revenues.
“I do not believe that we will go as far as bankruptcy,” explains Pierre Rondeau. A club like Barça cannot fall apart, it’s not like a company in another area. A financial actor will come to save it. It has such a reputation around the world that it will find potential investors who will be ready to advance funds by betting on a turnaround. “
“To keep Messi, he should be offered a 75% pay cut …”
For that, it will undoubtedly have to change its status, no longer only being owned by its socios (its members), but becoming a SASP (professional sporting limited company) in order to open up its capital. This will not prevent him from affording an austerity cure. The Spanish League sent a first signal by lowering the salary cap by 40% during the season, in the middle of November. Barça can now not exceed 382 million euros in payroll while his is 355 million euros.
“I do not see how they will be able to keep Messi, adds Pierre Rondeau. It costs them 100 million euros gross per year ( Editor’s note: without counting a bonus of 39 million euros to pay him this season ). To keep him he would have to be offered a 75% pay cut. It would have been smarter to sell it before it was free ( Editor’s note: he will no longer be under contract in June ), and get money back on their transfer. Anyway, Barça will live through difficult years and will have to reduce the wing like most of the big European clubs elsewhere. Even if its debt is spread over five or ten years, its room for maneuver will be very narrow. “A very dark outlook that the presidential candidates will have to expose to socios, their voters, by early March.